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Benedict Cumberbatch Says Sam Elliot’s Take On ‘Power Of The Dog’ Is ‘Very Odd’ Plus Implies ‘Toxic Masculinity’

Sam Elliot is beloved for his decades-long, highly respected acting career, most recently on the hit Western drama “1883.” However, his review of the Oscar-nominated film “The Power of the Dog” has some fans very upset. They claim that Elliot’s take on the narrative was “homophobic” and totally off base.

Meanwhile, “Power of the Dog” star Benedict Cumberbatch voiced his own reaction to Elliot’s criticism. To hear him tell it, Elliot hated the movie at least in part due to a culture of “toxic masculinity.”

The drama started during an episode of Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast when Elliot slammed “Power of the Dog,” saying it wasn’t a true Western in the classical sense. 

“You want to talk about that piece of s***?” the “1883” star told Maron. “That’s what all these f***ing cowboys in that movie looked like. They’re all running around in chaps and no shirts, there’s all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the f***ing movie.”

In response, Cumberbatch shared his rebuttal of Elliott’s criticism. 

“I think if we are to teach our sons to be feminists, if we’re to teach equality, if we’re to understand what poisons the well in men, [and] what creates toxic masculinity, we need to understand and look under the hood of characters like Phil Burbank to see what their struggle is and why that’s there in the first place because otherwise it will just keep repeating itself,” he said while speaking with BAFTA head of programs Mariayah Kaderbhai.

Cumberbatch didn’t refer to Elliot directly by name, but rather alluded to the controversy in his criticism. He said that take on the movie was “very odd” and that Elliot appeared to have a problem “that anybody could have any other than a heteronormative existence because of what they do for a living or where they’re born.”

“I think the more we look under the hood of toxic masculinity and try to discover the root causes of it, the bigger the chance we have of dealing with it when it arises with our children in playgrounds at school, with their friends, in the behavioral patterns we might see in innocent play and just understand how to police that,” Cumberbatch continued. 

Maron responded to Elliot’s criticism saying that homosexual themes were the “point” of the movie, a take which the film’s director had already clarified. Jane Campion told The Guardian she intentionally played up those elements to fit the intended theme.

“Too much leather and ropes and chaps? I encouraged it,” Campion told the publication in an interview published March 4.

“It’s quite eroticized. That rope, man! That’s such an object. You’re making a rope out of the hides of the beasts that you grow on the ranch. It’s sort of like a proof of masculinity because you use it to get animals into submission,” she continued.

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