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The Power of the Dog director Jane Campion claps back at actor Sam Elliott following film criticism

"He was being a little bit of a B-I-T-C-H", the New Zealand filmmaker told Variety.

By Alastair James

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Wiki

The Power of the Dog’s director Jane Campion has clapped back at actor Sam Elliot’s “sexist” criticism of her and her queer-themed cowboy drama.

Elliot, who you may recognise from A Star Is Born, recently slammed the Oscar-nominated film and specifically its “allusions to homosexuality” as explored through closeted lead character Phil Burbank, played by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Elliot also took issue with Campion’s decisions as director calling her a “brilliant director,” but asking why she had filmed the movie in New Zealand when it’s set in 1920s rural Montana in the United States.

“What can I say?”

Speaking to Variety at the 2022 Directors Guild of America Awards on Saturday (12 March) Campion, said: “What can I say? I’m sorry… he was being a little bit of a B-I-T-C-H. And I’m sorry to say it but he’s not a cowboy, he’s an actor. And the West is a mythic space and there’s a lot of room on the range.

“I think it’s a little bit sexist because you think about the number of amazing Westerns that were made in Spain by Sergio leone it’s, I mean, I consider myself a creator and I think he sees me as a woman or something lesser first and I don’t appreciate that.”

Campion claimed the Outstanding Directorial Achievement Award in Theatrical Feature Film as well as the Best Director gong at Sunday night’s BAFTAs in London.

Benedict Cumberbatch has also responded to Elliott’s remarks, calling them an “odd reaction”.

Speaking to BAFTA he said: “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 towards homosexuality still and toward an acceptance of the other and anything kind of [different].”

He also said: “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.”

Attitude has contacted representatives for Sam Elliott for comment.

Attitude’s new-look March/April issue is out now.