Sam Elliott Blasts ‘Piece of Sh*t’ ‘Power of the Dog’: What Does Campion ‘Know About the American West’?

"Why in the f*ck does she shoot this movie in New Zealand and call it Montana and say, ‘This is the way it was’? That f*cking rubbed me the wrong way, pal," Elliott told Marc Maron.
Sam Elliott, The Power of the Dog
Sam Elliott, "The Power of the Dog"
AP Images; Everett Collection/Netflix

Veteran actor Sam Elliott is back in the spotlight thanks to the massive popularity of the Paramount+ “Yellowstone” prequel “1883.” In the show, he plays former Civil War soldier Shea Brennan. To promote his work on the series as it likely heads into Emmy contention, Elliott recently appeared on Marc Maron’s “WTF Podcast” for a typically gloves-off conversation — and seeing as Elliott is one of the western genre’s leading figures, he had harsh words to say about Jane Campion’s Best Picture nominee “The Power of the Dog.” Listen below.

“You want to talk about that piece of shit?” Elliott started out. “You didn’t like that one?” Maron asked.

“Fuck no. Why? I’ll tell you why I didn’t like it anyway,” Elliott said. “I looked at when I was down there in Texas doing ‘1883’ and what really brought it home to me the other day when I said, ‘Do you want to fucking talk about it?’ There was a fucking full-page ad out in the LA Times and there was a review, not a review, but a clip, and it talked about the ‘evisceration of the American myth.’ And I thought, ‘What the fuck? What the fuck?’ This is the guy that’s done westerns forever. The evisceration of the American west? They made it look like — what are all those dancers that those guys in New York who wear bowties and not much else. Remember them from back in the day?”

As Maron pointed out, he was referring to Chippendales dancers.

“That’s what all these fucking cowboys in that movie look like,” Elliott said. “They’re all running around in chaps and no shirts. There’s all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the fucking movie.”

“I think that’s what the movie’s about,” Maron said of the film, in which it’s more than heavily implied that Benedict Cumberbatch’s rancher Phil Burbank is a repressed gay man.

Elliott went on to say that Campion, a native of New Zealand, was out of her element in tackling this particular genre.

“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? 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,” Elliott said. “The myth is that they were these macho men out there with the cattle. I just come from fucking Texas where I was hanging out with families, not men, families, big, long, extended, multiple-generation families…” he trailed off in the clip below. You can listen to the full episode on Maron’s website here.

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