wild west

Power of the Dog director Jane Campion calls Sam Elliott a “bit of a B-I-T-C-H”

Power of the Dog director Jane Campion and Sam Elliott
Jane Campion and Sam Elliott (Photos: Shutterstock)

The Power of the Dog was up for several awards over the weekend, with its stars and creative crew splitting their attendance between the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and the Critics Choice Awards in Los Angeles and the BAFTAs in London.

Acclaimed director Jane Campion was asked about recent criticism of the movie by the veteran actor Sam Elliott. The Yellowstone star had trashed the Montana-set western for being shot in New Zealand and for its male characters “running around in chaps and no shirts. There were all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the fucking movie.” Elliott summarized the work as “a piece of shit”.

Related: Sam Elliott goes on epic rant trashing “piece of sh*t” gay movie ‘Power of the Dog’

Director Jane Campion spoke to Variety at the DGA awards on Saturday. Asked about Elliott, she 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.”

“When you think about the number of amazing Westerns made in Spain by (director) Sergio Leone,” she said. “I consider myself a creator. I think he thinks of me as a woman or something lesser first, and I don’t appreciate that.”

One of the movie’s co-stars, Jesse Plemons, is up for an Oscar for his role. He spoke to the Hollywood Reporter on Friday night, while on the red carpet for a screening of the new movie, Windfall. Asked about Elliott’s criticism, he said, it “Made me laugh … I know there are different layers to that. Not everyone has to like it, I’ll say that. That’s fine.”

The Power of the Dog is nominated in 12 categories at the Oscars. On Sunday, it won Best Picture at the 2022 Critics’ Choice Awards. It also scooped some of the top awards at Britain’s BAFTAs, including Best Movie and Best Director for Campion.

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog
Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog

Related: Benedict Cumberbatch slams Sam Elliott’s homophobic response to ‘Power of the Dog’

Another of the movie’s stars, Benedict Cumberbatch, also recently responded to Elliott’s comment. During a BAFTA Film Sessions interview, he said, “I don’t want to get into the details of it … but somebody 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.

“And beyond that reaction — that sort of denial that anybody could have any other than a heteronormative existence because of what they do for a living or where they’re born, there’s also a massive intolerance within the world at large toward homosexuality still, toward an acceptance of the other, of any kind of difference, and no more so I guess than in this prism of conformity of what’s expected of a man in the Western archetype mold of masculinity.

“So I think to deconstruct that through [Cumberbatch’s character] Phil, to look at that, it’s not a history lesson.”