Sam Elliott apologises for The Power of the Dog comments | Film


The actor Sam Elliott has apologised for comments he made last month about Jane Campion’s western The Power of the Dog.

While speaking with Marc Maron on the latter’s WTF podcast, Elliott had described the film as a “piece of shit” western with “allusions of homosexuality”.

Elliott, 77, compared the cowboy characters in the film to male strippers and questioned New Zealander Campion’s credentials in making the movie: “What the fuck does this woman from down there know about the American west?”

Speaking on Sunday during an event for Deadline, Elliott claimed that he had told Maron “Campion was a brilliant director” but went on to say he wanted to “apologise to the cast … brilliant actors all.

“And in particular Benedict Cumberbatch. I can only say that I’m sorry and I am.”

Elliott said that he wanted to discuss the film, but that he “wasn’t very articulate about it”.

“And I said some things that hurt people and I feel terrible about that. The gay community has been incredible to me my entire career. Friends on every level and every job description up until today. I’m sorry I hurt any of those friends and someone that I loved. And anyone else by the words that I used.”

Reaction to Elliott’s comments was universally contemptuous, with many surprised the actor had apparently failed to realise some films are not shot in their exact settings.

Campion later responded to Elliott’s comments: “I think it’s really unfortunate and sad for him because he’s really hit the trifecta of misogyny and xenophobia and homophobia,” she said.

“I don’t like that. I think he was being a little bit of a b-i-t-c-h. Plus he’s not a cowboy, he’s an actor.”

Cumberbatch, meanwhile, referred obliquely to Elliott’s comments as a “denial that anybody could have any other than a heteronormative existence because of what they do for a living or where they’re born” as indicative of a continued “massive intolerance within the world at large toward homosexuality”.

The Power of the Dog took the Oscar for best director at the Oscars last month.

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