Sam Elliott, famed for his portrayals in Westerns of men with grit and toughness, aimed his verbal shotgun at the most Oscar-nominated film this year, Jane Campion’s 12-time Oscar-nominated drama “The Power of the Dog” for its emphasis on homosexual themes on a ranch in 1925 Montana, calling the film a “piece of s***.”
Speaking on Marc Maron’s “WTF Podcast,” Elliott, who currently stars in “1883” and whose long list of classic portrayals of rugged men in Westerns includes his legendary performance as Virgil Earp in the iconic “Tombstone,” said of the Netflix movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch, “You want to talk about that piece of s***?”
The exchange went like this:
Maron: Did you see Power of the Dog? Did you watch that movie
Elliott: Yeah. Do you want to talk about that piece of s***?
Maron: You didn’t like that one?
Elliott: F*** no.
Maron: Okay. Why?
Elliott: I’ll tell you why. I read a f***ing — 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 “Do you want to talk about it”— there was a f***ing full-page ad out in the LA Times and there was a review — not a review but a —
Elliott: A clip, yeah. And it talked about the “Evisceration of the American Myth.” And I thought, “What the f***? What the f***?” This is a guy who’s done Westerns forever.
Maron: For his whole life.
Elliott: The Evisceration of the American West. What are all those dancers, those guys in New York who wear bowties and not much else? Remember them from back in the day?
Maron: Oh, the Chippendales.
Elliott: Yeah. That’s what all these f***ing cowboys in that movie look like. They’re all running around in chaps and no shirts. There’s all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the f***king movie.
Maron: I think that’s what the movie’s about.
Elliott: Yeah. Well, what the f*** does this woman from —
Maron: Who, Jane Campion?
Elliott: Yeah,. She’s a brilliant director. I love her work, previous work. 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? That f***ing rubbed me the wrong way, pal. The myth is that there were these macho men out there with the cattle? 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 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?’”
Maron: I don’t know that that’s the biggest issue at hand.
Elliott: Well, it’s not the biggest issue, but for me it was the only issue because there was so much of it. I mean, Cumberbatch never got out of his f***ing chaps. He had two pairs of chaps — a woolly pair and a leather pair. And every f***ing time he would walk in from somewhere — I don’t know where in the f*** — he never was on a horse, maybe once — he’d walk into the f***ing house, storm up the f***ing stairs, go lay in his bed in his chaps and play his banjo. It’s like, what the f***? What the f***? Where’s the Western? Where’s the Western in this Western?
He continued, “I take it personal. I take it f***ing personal, pal.”
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