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A week after 1883 star Sam Elliott trashed his movie The Power of the Dog for "allusions of homosexuality," Benedict Cumberbatch has now fired back.
As a part of BAFTA's Film Sessions, Cumberbatch was asked why he thinks characters like his Old West cowboy Phil Burbank are still relevant. At first, Cumberbatch talked about toxic masculinity and looking under the hood of characters who define their manhood by it. But then he got to the good stuff.
"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," Cumberbatch said, obviously referring to Elliot's comments on the WTF With Marc Maron podcast. "Without meaning to stir over the ashes of that... someone 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."
"These people still exist in our world," the Oscar-nominee 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. "
Cumberbatch also added that it's when we explore characters like Burbank, who some might want to sweep under the rug, that we can really get to the root of what makes them tick.
"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 said. "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."
Recently when Elliott, who has starred in numerous westerns throughout his career, went on the WTF podcast, he went on a homophobic rant against Power of the Dog. Elliott called the film a "piece of shit" and said the characters looked more like Chippendales dancers than cowboys.
"That's what all these f***ing cowboys in that movie look like," he said, "They're all running around in chaps and no shirts. There's all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the f***ing movie."
Elliott also had specific problems with the chaps Cumberbatch's character wore throughout the film, complaining that he "never got out of his f***ing chaps" and asking "where's the Western in this Western?"
Power of the Dog is one of several movies in this year's Oscar race with LGBTQ+ themes. Other films like tick, tick... Boom!, Flee, and West Side Story also had LGBTQ+ roles. Both Cumberbatch and his co-star Kodi Smitt-McPhee are nominated for playing gay characters.
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