Benedict Cumberbatch is coming to the defense of the LGBTQ+ community after Sam Elliott shared some seriously bigoted comments about the Oscar-nominated film The Power Of The Dog.
Last week while sitting down for an interview with Marc Maron on the WTF podcast, the Big Lebowski actor criticized the acclaimed western film directed by Jane Campion for its depiction of a gay cowboy. If you don’t know, the film follows Phil Burbank (played by Cumberbatch) as he grapples with repressed feelings that arise after his brother brings home his new wife and her son. It’s up for the most Academy Award trophies this year (12 in total), but one person definitely won’t be rooting for the film’s success…
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Upset with the implications that Phil is a closeted gay cowboy, the 77-year-old compared the main characters to Chippendales dancers (who wear bowties “and not much else”). He slammed the queer representation by saying:
“They’re all running around in chaps and no shirts. There’s all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the f**king movie.”
On Benedict’s costumes, he complained:
“Every f**king time he would walk in from somewhere — he never was on a horse — he’d walk into the f**king house, storm up the f**king stairs, go lay in his bed, in his chaps and play the banjo.”
When the podcast host tried to explain that the whole point of the movie was to show what it might have been like to be a gay cowboy, Elliott doubled down on his argument that Power of the Dog was doing wrong and ruining his image of a traditionally masculine cowboy. He vented:
“The myth is that they were these macho men out there with the cattle.”
For some reason, The Ranch alum thinks he knows all just because he’s hung out with a couple of cowboys and their families as well as portrayed one in numerous productions, including the Yellowstone prequel 1883, he claimed:
“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 livings… and their lives were all about being about cowboys. And boy, when I f**king saw that [movie], I thought, ‘What the f**k.’”
Elliott also took issue with the shooting location for the film, complaining:
“What the f**k does this woman [Campion] from down there, New Zealand, know about the American west? And why in the f**k does she shoot this movie in New Zealand and call it Montana and say, ‘This is the way it was.’ That f**king rubbed me the wrong way, pal.”
Ugh. So much wrong with all these comments. If you’re interested to hear more of his rant, listen to the full conversation (below).
As to be expected, the podcast stirred up quite the controversy online — so much so that Benedict just addressed it with a scathing response during a new interview!
The Doctor Strange star opened up about Elliott’s “very odd reaction” to the film while calling out the “massive intolerance in the world at large towards homosexuality.” According to Digital Spy, the 45-year-old got candid about his fellow actor’s remarks during a BAFTA Film Sessions chat on Friday. Because he hadn’t listened to the full conversation, he avoided calling out anyone by name, but he made his thoughts VERY clear, beginning:
“I’m trying very hard not to say anything about a very odd reaction that happened the other day on a radio podcast over here.”
As respectfully as possible, he continued:
“Without meaning to stir over the ashes of that […] someone 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.”
The Emmy winner held NOTHING back, arguing:
“Beyond that reaction, the denial that anybody could have anything other than a heteronormative existence because of what they do for a living or where they’re born… there’s also a massive intolerance in the world at large towards homosexuality, still, towards an acceptance of the other, of any kind of difference, and no more so than in this prism of conformity, in the sense of what is expected of a man in the Western archetype mold of masculinity.”
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Referring to his character, the Best Actor nominee continued:
“These people still exist in our world. Whether it’s on our doorstep or whether it’s down the road or whether it’s someone we meet in a bar or pub or on the sports field, there is aggression and anger and frustration and an inability to control or know who you are in that moment that causes damage to that person and, as we know, damage to those around them.”
Addressing the significance of Phil’s queer storyline, the dad of three concluded:
“There’s no harm in looking at a character to get to the root causes of that. This is a very specific case of repression, but also due to an intolerance for that true identity that Phil is that he can’t fully be. The more we look under the hood of toxic masculinity and try to discover the root causes of it, the bigger chances we have of dealing with it when it arises with our children.”
Honestly, such a classy and much-needed response after Sam’s outburst. Hear more from Benedict (below)!