1883 star Sam Elliott has issued an apology for his criticism of the “allusions to homosexuality” found in Jane Campion’s recent Western, The Power of the Dog.
Speaking to a crowd at Deadline’s April 10th Contenders TV event, Elliott opened his apology by explaining that he wanted to discuss the film during his appearance on Marc Maron’s WTF with Marc Maron podcast because it “struck a chord with me,” which in turn led him to want to talk about “how I felt about the film.”
“I wasn’t very articulate about it,” said Elliott. “I didn’t articulate it very well and I said some things that hurt people and I feel terrible about that.”
He continued, “The gay community has been incredible to me my entire career. And I mean my entire career, from before I got started in this town. 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,” he concluded. “And anyone else by the words that I used.”
Appearing on the February 28th episode of Maron’s show, Elliott’s criticisms of the Benedict Cumberbatch-led film came in response to being asked by his host, “Did you see The Power of the Dog? Did you watch that movie?”
“Yeah, you want to talk about that piece of s**t?,” replied Elliott.
Asked in follow-up by Maron, “You didn’t like that one?,” the actor added, “F*** no.”
“I’ll tell you why,” he moved to elaborate. “I didn’t like it anyway. I looked at it when I was down there in Texas doing 1883. And what really brought it home to me, the other day, when I said to you I want to f***ing talk about it. There was a f***ing full page ad out in The LA Times and there was a review, not a review, a clip, and it talked about the evisceration of the American myth.”
“And I thought, ‘What the f***? What the f***?’ This is the guy that’s done westerns forever,” Elliott told Maron. “The evisceration of the American west. They made it look like — what are all those dancers, those guys in New York that wear bowties and not much else? Remember them from back in the day?”
“Oh, the Chippendales?” interjected Maron.
“Yeah, that’s what all these f***ing cowboys in that movie looked like. They’re all running around in chaps and no shirts. There’s all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the f***ing movie.”
“[Jane Campion] a brilliant director by the way. I love her work — previous work,” he clarified. “But what the f*** does this woman from down there, New Zealand, know about the American West? And why in the f*** does she shoot this movie in New Zealand and call it Montana? And say this is the way it was. So that f***ing rubbed me the wrong way, pal.”
Elliott further criticized, “And the myth is that they were these macho men out there with the cattle. I just come from f***ing Texas where I was hanging out with families, not men, but families, big, long, extended, multiple generation families that made their living and their lives were all about being cowboys. And boy when I f***ing saw that I thought, ‘What the f***? Where are we in this world today?”
Met with skepticism by Maron, who opined, “I don’t know that’s the biggest issue at hand,” Elliott asserted, “No, it’s not the biggest issue at hand, but, for me it was the only issue because there was so much of it.”
The since-Academy Award winning director would eventually respond to Elliott’s comments at the 2022 Director’s Guild of America Awards, telling Variety’s Marc Malkin on the red carpet, ““I’m sorry, he was being a little bit of a B-*-*-*-H.”
“And I’m sorry to say it, but he’s not a cowboy,” she declared. “He’s an actor. And the West is a mythic space and there is a lot of room on the range.”
“I think it’s a little bit sexist because you think about the number of westerns that were made in Spain by Sergio Leone,” she maintained. “I consider myself a creator and I think he sees me as a woman or something lesser first, and I don’t appreciate that.”
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