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Benedict Cumberbatch Defends ‘Power of the Dog’ After Sam Elliott Slams Gay Themes: ‘Very Odd’

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Zack Sharf Benedict Cumberbatch is defending “The Power of the Dog” against criticisms made last week by actor Sam Elliott, who called Jane Campion’s Oscar contender a “piece of shit” in part because of its “allusions of homosexuality.” Cumberbatch stars in the film as a closeted gay rancher in 1825 Montana whose repression manifests in toxic ways such as making life hell for his new sister-in-law (Kirsten Dunst) and her son (Kodi Smit-McPhee).“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.

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,” Cumberbatch said during a recent BAFTA Film Sessions interview. “Beyond that reaction, that sort of denial that anybody could have any other than a heteronormative 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 and towards an acceptance of the other and anything kind of difference,” the actor added. “No more so than in this prism of conformity of what’s expected of a man in the Western archetype mold of masculinity.

To deconstruct that through Phil, it’s not a history lesson.”Elliott criticized “The Power of the Dog” during an interview on Marc Maron’s “WTF” Podcast.

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