Sam Elliott Apologizes for ‘Power of the Dog’ Comments: ‘I Wasn’t Very Articulate’

In his first public comments since slamming the film, Elliott said that he "said some things that hurt people and I feel terrible about that."
Sam Elliott arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Sam Elliott
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

The Oscars may be over but Sam Elliott’s opinions about “The Power of the Dog” have continued to generate controversy. Elliott previously called the movie a “piece of shit” and criticized its historical accuracy in a way that many felt was homophobic during an episode of Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast. But today, during a panel appearance to promote “1883” (via Deadline), Elliott walked back his controversial comments about Jane Campion’s western.

“I wasn’t very articulate about it. I didn’t articulate it very well,” Elliott said. “And I said some things that hurt people and I feel terrible about that. The gay community has been incredible to me my entire career. And I mean my entire career, from before I got started in this town. Friends on every level and every job description up until today. I’m sorry I hurt any of those friends and someone that I loved. And anyone else by the words that I used.”

He went on to remind the crowd that he praised Jane Campion’s previous work when he was on “WTF,” and he went on to compliment the film’s cast as well.

“I told the ‘WTF’ podcaster that I thought Jane Campion was a brilliant director, and I want to apologize to the cast of ‘The Power of the Dog,’ brilliant actors all,” Elliott said. “And in particular Benedict Cumberbatch. I can only say that I’m sorry and I am. I am.”

Many of Elliott’s grievances with the film stemmed from the fact that it was filmed in New Zealand with a director who was not American, yet it critiqued American history in ways that he felt was inaccurate.

“What the fuck does this woman — she’s a brilliant director by the way, I love her work, previous work — but what the fuck does this woman from down there, New Zealand, know about the American West?,” he said on “WTF.” “And why in the fuck does she shoot this movie in New Zealand and call it Montana and say, ‘This is the way it was.’ That fucking rubbed me the wrong way, pal.”

As Elliott apologized, he remarked that he learned a valuable lesson from the experience. “First, don’t do a podcast with the call letters WTF,” he said.

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