Sam Elliott Is Very Sorry For His Criticism Of “The Power Of The Dog”
A little over a month ago, Sam Elliott and his deep tobacco-dipped voice appeared on an episode of WTF with Marc Maron where he dragged The Power of the Dog, the critically-acclaimed and Oscar-nominated western by Jane Campion. Sam, not a real cowboy, decided to represent real cowboys everywhere by claiming that the movie wasn’t authentic enough, while simultaneously applying some pretty heavy-handed homophobia by implying that the movie had too many shirtless cowboys running around and that the movie’s main character Phil (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) was throwing off too many gay vibes. Sam is now walking aaaaaall of that back, due to the backlash he received from some of his nearest and dearest in the gay community.
I’m not even going to begin to wager a guess as to how Sam arrived at this 180-degree turn on his previous comments. Although I want to believe it was motivated by a sore shoulder from so many people tapping him on the back and asking, “Quick question, Sam – but you can’t possibly be serious with all that shit“. Or maybe it was because Sam didn’t love being the subject of Jane Campion calling him a little B-I-T-C-H and accusing him of faking his cowboy credentials. Either way, Sam is sorry now. Sam spoke at the Deadline Contenders TV event on Sunday (Sam currently stars in the Paramount+ series 1883), and he addressed the fallout from his impromptu movie review of The Power of the Dog on WTF. Sam says his thoughts didn’t come out right, which wasn’t good because he knows how hurtful they ended up being to a whole lot of people. via People magazine:
Elliott, 77, began his public apology to the cast by warning the audience, “First, don’t do a podcast with the call letters WTF…I told the WTF podcaster that I thought Jane Campion was a brilliant director, and I want to apologize to the cast of The Power of the Dog, brilliant actors all. And in particular Benedict Cumberbatch. I can only say that I’m sorry and I am. I am.”
“I wasn’t very articulate about it. I didn’t articulate it very well. 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. 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. And anyone else by the words that I used.”
To be fair, I’m not sure how one could better articulate thoughts like that The Power of the Dog was “a piece of shit,” or that the cowboys in the movie looked like Chippendales dancers (and not in a good way). The better way to articulate the second one (and all that went with it, like the finger-wagging at the gay subtext) might be to have, oh, I don’t know, just kept those feelings to oneself? Especially when it comes to Chippendales slander. Benedict Cumberbatch rudeness can be forgiven, but talking shit about the nation’s foremost purveyors of buff male cheesecake burlesque? The Chippendales traveling stripper act is as deeply rooted in American folklore as cowboys and western movies at this point. Honestly, one public apology might not be enough here.