Jane Campion claps back at Sam Elliott’s rant about ‘The Power of the Dog’

jane campion sam elliott power of the dog netflix homophobic western
Images: Variety/Twitter, Paramount+, Netflix

Jane Campion, the director of acclaimed gay Western The Power of the Dog, has delivered an epic clapback at actor Sam Elliott’s wild homophobic rant against her film.

The Power of the Dog stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil Burbank, a menacing and domineering closeted gay rancher.

When Phil’s brother brings his new wife (Kirsten Dunst) to their ranch with her son (Australian actor Kodi Smit-McPhee), he torments the family until long-hidden secrets come to light.

The New Zealand director’s film, now streaming on Netflix, won critical acclaim for its exploration of toxic masculinity and sexuality.

But actor Sam Elliott, known for his work in Westerns, was not impressed. Speaking to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, the 77-year-old called the film “a piece of s__t”, compared the film’s cowboys to male strippers and asked “where’s the Western in this Western?”

“You want to talk about that piece of s__t?” Elliott said.

“They made it look like – what are all those dancers, those guys in New York that wear bowties and not much else?

“That’s what all these f____g 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____g movie.”

Sam Elliott also lashed out at Campion, saying “What does this woman from down there … New Zealand, know about the American West?”

“Why the f–k did she shoot this movie in New Zealand and call it Montana? And say this is the way it was? That rubbed me the wrong way, pal,” he told the podcast.

Elliott did concede the Oscar-winning Campion was a “brilliant” filmmaker. But he said he didn’t agree with her direction in The Power of the Dog.

Jane Campion responds to Sam Elliott’s homophobic rant

But Jane Campion wasn’t having it, calmly and hilariously clapping back at Sam Elliott as she spoke to Variety at the 2022 Directors Guild of America Awards.

“I’m sorry, he was being a little bit of a B-I-T-C-H,” Campion said.

“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.

“Think about the number of amazing westerns made in Spain by [director] Sergio Leone… I consider myself a creator.

“I think he thinks of me as a woman or something lesser first, I don’t appreciate that.”

Jane Campion also told Deadline Elliott had “hit the trifecta of misogyny and xenophobia and homophobia.”

The Power of the Dog scored 12 Oscar nominations

The Power of the Dog is the most-nominated flick at this year’s Academy Awards. The ceremony is screening in Australia on Channel Seven later this month.

The film has scored 12 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director for Jane Campion and Best Actor for Benedict Cumberbatch.

With her Oscar nomination, Jane Campion made history as the first woman ever nominated twice for Best Director.

Australian actor Kodi Smit-McPhee was also nominated for his performance.

The Power of the Dog is streaming on Netflix now.

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1 Comment

  1. Letty
    18 March 2022

    Pretty sure Benedict Cumberbatch’s character was bisexual, rather than gay.

    It wasn’t clear what the main character’s sexuality was – only that he was sensitive, and the villain saw him as same sex-attracted.

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