Benedict Cumberbatch responded to criticisms of "The Power of the Dog" made by actor Sam Elliott, calling his reaction "very odd."
On the Feb. 28 episode of the podcast WTF, Elliott called the movie a "piece of s---" when host Marc Maron asked him whether he liked "The Power of the Dog," likening the cowboys in the film to Chippendales dancers.
Cumberbatch — who plays Phil Burbank, a closeted gay man, in Jane Campion's neo-Western psychodrama — said he's “trying very hard not to say anything about a very odd reaction that happened the other day on a radio podcast over here.”
“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,” he said during a BAFTA Film Sessions event Friday.
“These people still exist in our world,” he said. “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 added that there was “no harm in looking at a character to get to the root causes of that” and 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.”
Representatives for Cumberbatch, Elliott and Netflix did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“The Power of the Dog” topped the list of nominees for the 94th Academy Awards with 12 nods, including best picture.