Sam Elliott has scathingly criticized Jane Campion’s critically acclaimed film The power of the dog about his portrayal of cowboys and the Wild West.
The veteran actor – whose cinematic legacy is inseparable from westerns – said he found the film’s portrayal of the American West to be “damn personal.”
In the latest episode of comedian Marc Maron’s podcast WTF with Marc Maron, which was released on Monday (February 28), Elliott and Maron discussed some of the biggest releases of 2021.
Towards the end of the podcast, Maron asked his guest if he’d seen Campion’s drama, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the film’s lead.
“Yeah, you wanna talk about that piece of shit?” asked Elliott, explaining that his disdain for the film was partly prompted by a critic’s review.
“There was a full page ad from af ****** in LA times‘ Elliott said, ‘and it talked about gutting the American myth, and I was like, ‘What the hell’.”
the LA times‘Review of The power of the dog contains no mention of the phrase.
But, New York Times Critic Manohla Dargis’ review reads, “A great American story and a dazzling evisceration of one of the country’s founding myths, that of Jane Campion The power of the dog It centers on Phil Burbank (Cumberbatch), a boastful man.
Elliott continued his critique of the film, comparing the cowboys in Campion’s film to Chippendales dancers who “bow ties and don’t wear much else,” adding, “That’s what all those damn cowboys looked like in that movie.”
“They walk around in chaps and shirtless. There’s all these references to homosexuality throughout the film,” they said.
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Maron noted at this point that this is “what the movie is about,” in reference to the cinematics implying that Cumberbatch’s character is a closeted gay man.
Sam Elliott protested Jane Campion’s portrayal of the American West in her critically acclaimed 2021 film The Power of The Dog.
Elliott also criticized what he perceived as Campion’s lack of insight into the world she was trying to reconstruct.
Elliott prefaced his response by saying she was “a brilliant director” and asked, “What the hell is that woman down there doing [New Zealand] Do you know the American West? Why the hell did she shoot this movie in New Zealand and call it Montana? And say it was so?’
The actor suggested that “the myth is that they [American cowboys] were those macho men out there with cattle” when reality couldn’t be further.
“I just got back from Texas, where I’ve been hanging out with families — not men — but families. Big, long, extended families with multiple generations making a living… And their lives were all about cowboys. And boy did I fucking see that [movie]I was like, ‘What the hell’.”
Elliott had been filming for Taylor Sheridan’s western TV show 1883, a precursor for yellowstone, in Texas.
When Maron tried to defend the film, Elliott countered, “Where’s the western in this western?”
“I mean, Cumberbatch never got out of his damn guys,” he said. “He had two pairs of chaps – one wool pair and one leather pair. And every damn time they came in from anywhere — he never sat on a horse — he’d walk in the damn house, storm the damn shit up the stairs, go get in his bed, in his knickers, and play the banjo.”
The power of the dog is one of the front-runners at this year’s Academy Awards, with 12 nominations.
Campion’s Best Director was her first woman in history to receive two nominations in that category, having previously been nominated for her 1993 drama The piano.
The film’s other nominations include Best Actor (Cumberbatch), Best Picture, Best Cinematography, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
You can read The Independent‘s four-star rating from The power of the dog Here.