Benedict Cumberbatch has responded to Sam Elliott’s criticism of the portrayal of the American West in his Oscar-nominated drama The Power of the Dog.
On Tuesday, March 1, the veteran actor, known for starring in westerns such as Yellowstone, slammed Jane Campion’s film during his appearance on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast.
Elliott said he took the film’s portrayal of the American West as “personal f*****”, comparing the film’s cowboys to Chippendales dancers who “wear bow ties and not much d ‘other,” adding, “That’s what all those f***ing cowboys in that movie looked like.
“They run around in leggings and shirtless. There are all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the movie,” he added, appearing to refer to the character of Cumberbatch, whose toxic masculine traits are believed to be the result of being a closeted gay man.
However, speaking at the BAFTA Awards Film Sessions with the nominees for lead actor on Friday, March 4, the Doctor Strange star fired back, explaining why portraying a character like Phil Burbank in the 21st century is so vital.
Cumberbatch explained that, “because there are many [Phil Burbanks] in the world”, in order to achieve gender equality and oust toxic masculinity, we need to “look under the hood” of characters like Phil to “see what their fight is and why it’s there in the first place” .
The actor stopped by to specifically reference Elliott’s controversial review of the film.
“I’m trying very hard not to say anything about a very strange reaction that happened the other day on a radio podcast here,” he said.
“With no intention of stirring the ashes of this […] someone got really offended – I didn’t hear it so it’s unfair for me to comment on it in detail […] in the West being portrayed that way.”
“And beyond that reaction, that kind of denial that anyone could have anything other than a heteronormative existence because of what they do in life or where they were born.”
He continued: “These people still exist in our world. Whether it’s on our doorstep or whether it’s on the road or whether it’s someone we meet in a bar or a pub or on the sports field, it There’s aggression and anger and frustration and an inability to control or know who you are at the moment that causes damage to that person and, as we know, damage to those around them.”
He added: “There’s no harm in looking at a character to find out the root causes. It’s a very specific case of repression, but also due to an intolerance for this true identity that Phil is qu ‘it cannot be fully.’
Cumberbatch concluded, “The more we look under the hood of toxic masculinity and try to uncover its root causes, the more likely we are to deal with it when it arises with our children.”
The Power of the Dog is available now on Netflix and in UK cinemas.
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