AceShowbiz - Benedict Cumberbatch has responded to Sam Elliott's criticism of his critically-acclaimed movie "The Power of the Dog" over its gay themes. Speaking during a BAFTA Film Sessions interview, the British actor called the Sacramento-born star's comments about the western drama "very odd."
"I'm trying very hard not to say anything about a very odd reaction that happened the other day on a radio podcast over here, without meaning to stir over the ashes of that," Cumberbatch said, without specifically naming Elliott. "Someone really took offense to - I haven't heard [the podcast] so it's unfair for me to comment in detail on it - to the West being portrayed in this way," he noted.
The "Doctor Strange" star thinks the complaint arose from intolerance towards the LGBTQ+ community. "Beyond that reaction, 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," he explained. "No more so than in this prism of conformity of what's expected of a man in the Western archetype mold of masculinity. To deconstruct that through Phil, it's not a history lesson."
Of his character Phil Burbank, the 45-year-old said, "These people still exist in our world. Whether it's on our doorstep or whether it's down the road or whether it's someone we meet in a bar or pub or on the sports field, there is aggression and anger and frustration and an inability to control or know who you are in that moment that causes damage to that person and, as we know, damage to those around them. I think there's no harm in looking at a character to get to the root causes of that."
"This is a very specific case of repression, but also due to an intolerance for that true identity that Phil is that he can't fully be," he continued about the fictional closeted gay rancher. "The more we look under the hood of toxic masculinity and try to discover the root causes of it, the bigger chances we have of dealing with it when it arises with our children."
Elliott slammed Jane Champion's "The Power of the Dog" during an interview on Marc Maron's "WTF" podcast. The 77-year-old, who often stars in western films, compared cowboys in the movie to Chippendale dancers who "wear bow ties and not much else."
"That's what all these f**king cowboys in that movie looked like," the "1883" star said. "They're running around in chaps and no shirts. There's all these allusions of homosexuality throughout the movie."