Filmmaker Jane Campion responded to questions regarding Sam Elliott’s opinion of “The Power of the Dog” during a red carpet event Saturday.
Prolific western actor Sam Elliott gave a fairly negative review of Campion’s boring film on Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast in February and has since gone on to dominate headlines and conversations surrounding the film. In short, Elliott felt the film was an inaccurate portrayal of western life, saying the cast were “running around in chaps and no shirts. There’s all these allusions of homosexuality throughout the f**king movie.”
Of Campion, Elliott said, “what the f**k does this woman … she’s a brilliant director, by the way, I love her work, her previous work, but what the f**k does this woman from down there [New Zealand] know about the American West? And why in the f**k did she shoot this movie in New Zealand and call it Montana?” (RELATED: REVIEW: ‘1883’ With Sam Elliott And Tim McGraw Is Incredible)
When asked if she was surprised by Elliott’s comments by Variety, Campion responded, “He was being a little bit of a B-I-T-C-H, and 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 is a little bit sexist because you think about the number of amazing westerns 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 less at first, and, you know, I don’t appreciate that,” she said.
Jane Campion responds to Sam Elliott’s #ThePowerOfTheDog comments: “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.” https://t.co/I32wQ8lCiF pic.twitter.com/Tftq4AoXCy
— Variety (@Variety) March 13, 2022
Campion’s response calls into question whether she’s actually heard Elliott’s comments, as he absolutely appreciates her as a filmmaker. The focal point of his dislike for the tiringly dull film was its inaccuracy in portraying the Western.
In contrast to Campion’s opinion, the American West is actually a real place, both geographically and historically. It’s not a “mythic” space. While there is a lot of “room on the range,” Elliott has spent arguably more of his life there than Campion ever could. His opinion is weighted significantly grander than hers, or anyone else associated with “The Power of the Dog.”
Campion’s comments come in the wake of those provided by the film’s leads, Benedict Cumberbatch and Kodi Smit-McPhee, as well as cinematographer Ari Wegner, continuing Elliott’s trend of casting an honest and masculine shadow over awards season. Multiple outlets have voiced their rage over Elliott’s opinion, with some going so far as to accost him in public. It would appear that the media are more interested in Elliott’s comments than the film, which, again, is boring.