Sam Elliott Apologizes for 'The Power of the Dog' Criticism

Sam Elliott apologized for his criticism of Netflix's The Power of the Dog, acknowledging that he "said something that hurt people," which he now feels "terrible." During an appearance on Marc Maron's WTF podcast, the 1883 actor called the film a "piece of s—" and complained about the "allusions to homosexuality" throughout it. The movie was directed by Jane Campion, who won the Best Director Oscar, and stars Benedict Cumberbatch.

"I told the WTF podcaster that I thought Jane Campion was a brilliant director, and I want to apologize to the cast of The Power of the Dog, brilliant actors all," Elliott said during Deadline's Contenders TV event Sunday. "And in particular Benedict Cumberbatch. I can only say that I'm sorry, and I am. I am." Elliott warned people against appearing on a podcast with the "Call letters WTF" and said The Power of the Dog "struck a chord" with him.

"I wasn't very articulate about it. I didn't articulate it very well," Elliott explained. "And I said some things that hurt people, and I feel terrible about that. The gay community has been incredible to me my entire career. And I mean my entire career, from before I got started in this town. Friends on every level and every job description up until today. I'm sorry I hurt any of those friends and someone that I loved. And anyone else by the words that I used."

Elliott's 1883 co-star Faith Hill then chimed in to support the A Star Is Born actor. She praised his "amazing character" and said he would go out of his way to apologize to anyone he may have offended. "We love Sam," Hill added.

In late February, Elliott referred to The Power of the Dog as a "piece of s—" and compared the cowboys in the movie to Chippendales dancers "who wear bowties and not much else." The cowboys were "all running around in chaps and no shirts, there's all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the f—ing movie," he said.

Elliott then criticized Campion, suggesting she was not qualified to direct a Western set in Montana because she is from New Zealand. He also complained about her decision to film the movie in New Zealand. Elliott was also critical of Cumberbatch's character. "It was like, what the f—? Where's the Western in this Western?" Elliott said.

Campion responded to Elliott's criticisms at the Directors Guild of America Awards red carpet. "I think it's really unfortunate and sad for him because he's really hit the trifecta of misogyny and xenophobia and homophobia. I don't like that," she told Deadline. "I think he was being a little bit of a b-i-t-c-h. Plus, he's not a cowboy. He's an actor."

The Power of the Dog is based on Thomas Savage's 1967 novel. It was nominated for 12 Oscars but only won Best Director for Campion. Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemmons, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Kirsten Dunst were all nominated for their performances. Meanwhile, Elliott can now be seen in the Yellowstone prequel 1883 on Paramount+.