Sam Elliott Apologizes for ‘Power of the Dog’ Comments – The Hollywood Reporter

Sam Elliott apologized for the controversial comments he made about the western the power of the dog last month in an episode of Marc Maron’s wtf podcast.

Speaking on Sunday at a panel in deadline Contenders TV event to promote their Paramount+ series 1883Elliott was asked about his comments, which included calling the Jane Campion-directed film a “piece of shit” as well as questioning its character portrayals and themes of masculinity and sexuality.

“First, don’t go do a podcast whose call letters are WTF,” he joked.

Seriously, he added that the film “struck a chord with me.”

“And when trying to tell the guy, the wtf guy [Maron], how I felt about the movie, I wasn’t very vocal about it,” Elliott continued. “I didn’t articulate it very well. And I said some things that hurt people. And I feel terrible about it.”

He went on to apologize directly to the gay community, which “has been amazing to me my entire career, and I mean my entire career, from before I even started when I was in this city. Friends at every level, in every job description, until today with my agent, my dear friend. … And I’m sorry I hurt any of those friends, and someone I love. And anyone else for the words I used.”

He continued, “I also told this ‘What the F’ podcaster that I thought Jane Campion was a brilliant director, and I want to apologize to the cast of dog power, brilliant actors, all of them. And in particular Benedict Cumberbatch. I can only say I’m sorry and I am. Am.”

Elliott’s apology comes just over a month after the wtf the episode premiered. When asked if she liked the movie, Elliott told Maron, “Fuck no. I watched it when I was in Texas doing 1883 and what really made me realize the other day… there was a fucking full page ad in the LA Times and there was a review, not a review, but a clip, and it was about the evisceration of the American myth. And I thought, ‘What the fuck? What the hell? This is the guy who’s been doing westerns forever. The evisceration of the American West. They made it sound like: what are all those dancers that those guys in New York who wear bow ties and not much else? Do you remember them from yesteryear?

Maron clarified that Elliott was referring to the Chippendales dancers. Elliott then continued, “This is what all these damn cowboys looked like in that movie. They all run around in chaps and no shirts. There are all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the damn movie.”

He later added of Campion: “What the hell does this woman do? She’s a brilliant director, by the way, I love her work, her previous work, but what the hell does this woman down there in New Zealand know about the American West? And why the hell is he shooting this movie in New Zealand and calling it Montana and saying, ‘That’s how it was.’ That pissed me off, mate. The myth is it was these bucks with the cattle. I just came from fucking Texas, where I hung out with families, not men, but families, big, long, extended, multigenerational families that made a living and their lives were all about being cowboys.”

Campion and his cast’s reactions to the comments were mixed. For her part, the director, who won the Oscar for best directing at last month’s Academy Awards, said The Hollywood Reporter Awards Talk podcast: “You have to say, I think, I was being a bit of a bitch, because, you know, he’s not a cowboy either, he’s an actor: he grew up in Sacramento and was educated in Oregon, you know? We are dealing with a fictional world, we are dealing with a mythical universe. The West is a myth, it doesn’t exist, Annie Proulx said that, and there’s plenty of room in the range to explore that myth. And this is just another version of it. You know, if you think about Sergio Leone’s movies, where were they shot? They were filmed in Spain and are some of the greatest explorations of Western myth ever made. So, you know, I think it’s just a little scabby cowboy problem.”

Cumberbatch, who earned an Oscar nomination for his performance, said during an appearance on a BAFTA Film Sessions panel that he had not heard the comments at the time. “Somebody really took offense because, I haven’t heard it, so it’s unfair for me to go into it in detail, because the West is portrayed in this way,” he said. “And beyond that backlash, that kind of denial that anyone could have anything other than a heteronormative existence because of what they do for a living or where they were born, there’s also a massive intolerance in the world at large. towards homosexuality still, towards an acceptance of the other, of any kind of difference, and I suppose no more than in this prism of conformity to what is expected of a man in the Western archetypal mold of masculinity. So I plan to deconstruct that through [Cumberbatch’s character] Phil, looking at that, it’s not a history lesson.”

Her Oscar-nominated co-star Jesse Plemons said THR in March that Elliott’s critique “made me laugh,” noting that people can have their own opinions. “I know there are different layers to that,” she said. “Not everyone has to like it, I will say. Alright.”

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