Film director Jane Campion had words for Sam Elliott after he publically slammed her critically-lauded western, The Power of the Dog, as being a “piece of sh*t for not being filmed in New Zealand instead of in Montana–where the eponymous novel it is based on takes place.
The 77-year-old actor is known for his work in western films such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1972) and Gunsmoke (1969) early in his career. He currently stars in the Paramount+ Yellowstone prequel, 1883.
He additionally noted “there were all these allusions of homosexuality" in Campion's film–which is the actual plot point that drives the movie's narrative.
Campion, who had been very open about the filming location choice as a decision made for budgetary reasons, responded to Elliott's disparaging comments and told Variety:
"I'm sorry, he was being a little bit of a B-I-T-C-H."
You can watch her response in the clip below.
Elliott initially recognized Campion as a “brilliant” filmmaker during an interview on Marc Maron's WTF podcast earlier this month, but then he went off the rails and ranted about her latest work starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a volatile ranchhand who hides his repressed homosexual desire from his fellow ranchers.
“What the f'k does this woman from down there know about the American West?" said Elliott of Campion in the interview.
"Why the f'k did 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."
Campion–who won for outstanding directorial achievement in a theatrical feature film at Saturday's Directors Guild of America (DGA) Awards–went on to clarify something about Elliott.
"I'm sorry to say it but 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."
She also suggested his criticism of her film was steeped in sexism.
"I consider myself a creator and I think he sees me as a woman or something lesser first, and I don't appreciate that."
She repeated the same sentiment in a Deadline interview, saying Elliott's rant "hit the trifecta of misogyny and xenophobia and homophobia."
When asked what she personally thought of the actor, Campion responded:
“I think he thinks of me as a woman or something lesser first, and I don’t appreciate that.”
Social media users were not impressed by Elliott's criticism.
Elliott also went after Cumberbatch in his interview with Maron, saying:
“I mean, Cumberbatch never got out of his f'king chaps. He had two pairs of chaps – a woolly pair and a leather pair."
"And every f'king time he would walk in from somewhere – he never was on a horse, maybe once – he’d walk into the f'king house, storm up the f'king stairs, go lay in his bed in his chaps and play his banjo. 'It’s like, what the f'k?'”
Cumberbatch responded to Elliott's rant without mentioning him by name as “someone” who “really took offense” to the film.
After noting the movie was not a "history lesson," he added:
"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 difference.”
The Power of the Dog racked up 12 Oscar nominations, including best picture, best director, best adapted screenplay, best actor (Benedict Cumberbatch), best supporting actress (Kirsten Dunst), and two nominations for best-supporting actor (Kodi Smit-McPhee and Jesse Plemons).
Campion holds the distinction of being the first woman to be nominated for best director twice.