Sam Elliott apologises for controversial comments on The Power of the Dog

·2-min read
 (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
(Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

US actor Sam Elliott has found himself in hot water after calling Jane Campion’s Oscar-nominated film The Power of the Dog a “piece of s*** Western”.

The 77-year-old, who has been acting for more than fifty years, insulted the film in February, telling Marc Maron’s WTF podcast that he the cowboys portrayed in the film looked like Chippendale dancers and that they never took off their chaps.

“They’re running around in chaps and no shirts. There’s all these allusions of homosexuality throughout the f***ing movie,” he said.

“Where’s the western in this Western?”

He also took aim at New Zealand director Campion’s suitability for the job of director, asking what a “woman from down there can know about the American West.”

However, Elliott has now apologised for his words, saying he feels “terrible” for what he said.

"I wasn’t very articulate about it. I didn’t articulate it very well. I said some things that hurt people… I can only say that I’m sorry, and I am. I am,” he told Deadline during a promotion for his new series 1883. The actor also apologised directly to the gay community.

The Power of the Dog was nominated for several Oscars ((Kirsty Griffin/Netflix c2021))
The Power of the Dog was nominated for several Oscars ((Kirsty Griffin/Netflix c2021))

"The gay community has been incredible to me my entire career. And I mean by entire career, from before I got started in this town,” he added.

"Friends on every level, in every job description - up until today, with my agent, my dear friend of a number of years.

"I’m sorry that I hurt any of those friends and someone I loved and anyone else by the words that I used."

At the time, Elliott’s comments sparked condemnation from The Power of the Dog’s stars and cast. Jane Campion – who won an Oscar for directing the film – had previously said that Elliott “was being a little bit of a B-I-T-C-H. He’s not a cowboy; he’s an actor.”

She added, “The West is a mythic space and there’s a lot of room on the range. I think it’s a little bit sexist.”

Benedict Cumberbatch also said that Elliott’s words were a “very odd reaction” to seeing the film.

The Power of the Dog was nominated for twelve Oscars, but at the awards ceremony last month won only one, with Campion collecting the gong for Best Director.

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