“The Power of the Dog” director-producer Jane Campion didn’t mix words when asked what she thought of actor Sam Elliott’s comments about her multi-Oscar-nominated Western film.
“I’m sorry, he was being a little bit of a B-I-T-C-H. I’m sorry to say, he’s not a cowboy; he’s an actor,” she told Variety on the red carpet at the Directors Guild Awards. “And the West is a mythic space and there’s a lot of room on the range. And, ya know, I think it’s a little bit sexist.”
On March 1, Elliott, who stars in the Paramount+ series “1883” about a post-Civil War family trekking from Tennessee to Montana to establish the Yellowstone Ranch, had some rather unpleasant things to say about Campion’s film during an interview on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, calling “Power” a “piece of s—” and comparing the film’s cowboys to Chippendale dancers.
“That’s what all these f—ing cowboys in that movie look like,” he said. “They’re all running around in chaps and no shirts. There’s all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the f—ing movie.”
But Elliott went further, targeting Campion directly,
“What the f— does this woman from down there know about the American West?,” Elliott said, referring to the New Zealand-born Campion. “Why the f— did she shoot this movie in New Zealand and call it Montana? And say this is the way it was? That f—ing rubbed me the wrong way.”
For the record, “Power of the Dog” received 12 Oscar nominations, the most of any films this year. Campion herself is up for three – Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Achievement in Directing and, as one of its producers, Best Motion Picture of the Year.