The director of the Oscar-nominated cowboy film Power of the Dog has slammed actor Sam Elliott as ‘a little bit sexist’ and ‘a bitch’ for criticizing the movie’s theme of repressed homosexual desire.
‘I’m sorry, he was being a little bit of a B-I-T-C-H. He’s not a cowboy; he’s an actor,’ Jane Campion told Variety at the Directors Guild of America awards in Los Angeles on Saturday. ‘The West is a mythic space and there’s a lot of room on the range. I think it’s a little bit sexist.’
‘I consider myself a creator. I think he thinks of me as a woman or something lesser first,’ she added, noting that she takes a ‘more expansive’ view of the western genre.
Campion’s remarks were in response to Elliott, 77, comparing the movie’s ranch workers to Chippendales dancers who ‘wear bowties and not much else.’
In a foul mouthed tirade on Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast last week he said: ‘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.’
The veteran actor, who also blasted Campion for shooting the Montana-set movie in her native New Zealand, has faced heavy criticisms in wake of his comments.
Jane Campion (left) director of the Oscar-nominated cowboy film Power of the Dog has slammed actor Sam Elliott (right) as ‘a little bit sexist’ and ‘a bitch’ for criticizing the movie’s theme of repressed homosexual desire
Elliott said his main gripe stemmed from the implications that the character Phil Burbank was a closeted gay man and that the movie over-critiqued the masculine image of the west
In the interview at the center of the controversy, Elliott said his main gripe stemmed from the implications that the character Phil Burbank was a closeted gay man and that the movie over-critiqued the masculine image of the west.
‘The myth is that they were these macho men out there with the cattle,’ Elliott said. ‘I just came from Texas where I was hanging out with families – not men – but families. Big, long, extended, multiple-generation families that made their livings… and their lives were all about being about cowboys.
‘And boy, when I f**king saw that [movie], I thought, ‘What the f**k,” he said.
‘Where’s the western in this western?’
He added that he was also angry that lead actor Benedict Cumberbatch’s character never seemed to remove his chaps.
‘Every f**cking time he would walk in from somewhere – he never was on a horse – he’d walk in to the f**cking house, storm up the f**cking stairs, go lay in his bed, in his chaps and play the banjo.’
The actor also went on to question the suitability of Campion, asking how a ‘woman from down there [New Zealand] can ‘know about the American West.’
Ellliott, however, did call Campion, 67, a ‘brilliant’ filmmaker and said he just did not agree with her direction in The Power of the Dog.
Earlier this month, Campion was questioned over her directing choices and whether or not she ever worried about ‘overdoing all the leather and ropes and chaps’.
The director said she ‘encouraged’ the homosexual fetishes and ‘gear’ seen in the movie.
‘Too much leather and ropes and chaps? I encouraged it,’ she told the Guardian in an interview published on March 4. She also said she knew parts were ‘quite eroticized,’ including a scene where Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is hiding a rope Phil (Cumberbatch) had given him under his bed.
Campion (pictured at the Directors Guild of America awards in Los Angeles on Saturday) said: ‘I’m sorry, he was being a little bit of a B-I-T-C-H. He’s not a cowboy; he’s an actor. The West is a mythic space and there’s a lot of room on the range. I think it’s a little bit sexist’
Earlier this month, Campion said she ‘encouraged’ the homosexual fetishes and ‘gear’ seen in the film, acknowledging she knew parts were ‘quite eroticized’
When approached by DailyMail.com on Wednesday, Elliott – who was running errands – sarcastically claimed to have no knowledge of the movie.
‘What are you talking about?’ he said when asked about his thoughts on the film. ‘I don’t know anything about it.’
However, his comments on WTF Podcast have caused outrage in Hollywood.
The Power of the Dog star Cumberbatch, 45, hit back at Elliott, describing his comments a ‘very odd reaction’ to the movie. He also noted there is still ‘a massive intolerance in the world at large towards homosexuality.’
‘I’m trying very hard not to say anything about a very odd reaction that happened the other day on a radio podcast over here,’ Cumberbatch, who stars as a repressed gay cowboy in the film, said during BAFTA’s Film Sessions on Friday.
‘Without meaning to stir over the ashes of that […] someone really took offense to – I haven’t heard it so it’s unfair for me to comment in detail on it – to the West being portrayed in this way,’ Cumberbatch continued.
The Power of the Dog follows Cumberbatch’s character Phil Burbank, a menacing rancher whose brother (Jesse Plemons) surprisingly gets married to a woman (Kirsten Dunst) who moves onto their ranch with her son (Smit-McPhee).
The film centers around Burbank’s anger over his repressed feelings as he torments his new sister-in-law and her son at their Montana ranch until he learns to love his family. It was filmed in New Zealand because Campion wanted to direct it close to her native country.
The film leads all contenders with 12 Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director for Campion and Best Actor for Cumberbatch.