Pretend cowboy and moustache owner Sam Elliott has apologised for criticising The Power of the Dog. During Deadline’s Contenders TV panel to promote 1883, Elliot offered an apology to director Jane Campion, star Benedict Cumberbatch, and the rest of the drama movie’s cast.
“I told the [Marc Maron] that I thought Jane Campion was a brilliant director, and I want to apologise to the cast of The Power of the Dog, brilliant actors all,” Elliott said. “And in particular Benedict Cumberbatch. I can only say that I’m sorry, and I am.”
“I wasn’t very articulate about it. I didn’t articulate it very well,” Elliott continued. “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.”
Elliott was widely criticised for his comments about Campion’s movie, which he made in March 2022 while appearing on Maron’s WTF podcast. He called the film a “piece of shit” and criticised it for shooting in New Zealand rather than the real West.
It was his comments on the film’s “allusions of homosexuality” that really raised eyebrows, though, with Elliott comparing the cowboy characters to Chippendales dancers who “wear bow ties and not much else,” who run around in “chaps and no shirts.”
Following Elliott’s attack on the film, Campion reminded the Star is Born actor that he’s not a real cowboy, adding, “I think it’s really unfortunate and sad for him because he’s really hit the trifecta of misogyny and xenophobia and homophobia.”
Elliot’s opinion on the film was an outlier. The movie was warmly received around the world by critics, and The Power of the Dog secured Campion the best director Oscar at the 2022 Academy Awards.