WASHINGTON: After veteran actor, Sam Elliot criticised the Oscar-nominated film 'The Power of the Dog', actor Benedict Cumberbatch stepped in to defend his movie, calling the former's negative reaction "very odd".
As per The Hollywood Reporter, the actor opened up about the backlash during a recent BAFTA Film Sessions event. Elliott's comments included taking issue with the drama's gay themes and calling director Jane Campion's film "a piece of s**t."
Defending the Oscar contender, Cumberbatch said, "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 up the ashes of that."
The Emmy-winning star added, "I don't want to get into the details of it ... but somebody really took offense to -- I haven't heard it so it's unfair for me to comment in detail on it -- to the West being portrayed in this way. And beyond that reaction -- that sort of denial that anybody could have any other than a hetero-normative 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, towards an acceptance of the other, of any kind of difference, and no more so I guess than in this prism of conformity of what's expected of a man in the Western archetype mold of masculinity. So I think to deconstruct that through Phil, to look at that, it's not a history lesson."
Cumberbatch, who essays the role of a gay man named Phil Burbank in the film, noted that it's important to include LGBTQ+ characters in the film because "these people still exist in our world".
He continued, "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."
In the film, Cumberbatch, who features as a cattle rancher, unexpectedly falls for the son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) of a widow, played by Kirsten Dunst, who recently moved to his ranch. The character grapples with his sexuality in an era and place that emphasizes binary gender roles and expectations, reported People magazine.
Elliott previously made it clear that he is not a fan of how the American West was portrayed in the film. The 77-year-old actor made headlines last month for his comments about the male characters in 'The Power of the Dog', comparing them to Chippendale dancers who "wear bow ties and not much else."
During an interview on the 'WTF With Marc Maron' podcast, the 'A Star Is Born' actor called the movie a "piece of s--t" that didn't fit into the western genre.
"Cumberbatch never got out of his f***** chaps. He had two pairs of chaps: a woolly pair and a leather pair," the 'Parks and Recreation' alum said on the February 28 episode."
He added, "Every f***** time he would walk in from somewhere -- he never was on a horse, maybe once -- he'd walk into the f***** house, storm up the f***** stairs, go lay in his bed in his chaps, and play his banjo. It's like, what the f*****?"
The actor slammed Campion for choosing to shoot the film in her native New Zealand, adding, "What the f***** does this woman from down there know about the American West? ... That f***** rubbed me the wrong way."
'The Power of the Dog' scored more nominations than any other film at the 94th annual Oscars. With 12 total nods, it is the first movie helmed by a woman to be recognised in more than 10 Academy Awards categories.