“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,” the A Star Is Born actor, 77, said during Deadline’s Contenders TV event on Sunday, April 10. “And in particular: Benedict Cumberbatch, I can only say that I’m sorry, and I am. I am.”
He continued: “I wasn’t very articulate about it. … 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.”
The California native, who appeared at Sunday’s event with his 1883 costars, noted that the 2021 film “struck a chord with me.”
Elliott made headlines earlier this year after he slammed the movie’s representation of cowboys.
“They’re running around in chaps and no shirts. There’s all these allusions of homosexuality throughout the movie,” the Parks and Recreation alum said during the February 28 episode of Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast, referring to the actors as Chippendale dancers who “wear bow ties and not much else” and calling the film a “piece of s—t” as a whole.
He also called out the 67-year-old director’s choice to film the movie in her native New Zealand and Cumberbatch’s leading role as rancher Phil Burbank.
“Cumberbatch never got out of his f–king chaps. He had two pairs of chaps: a woolly pair and a leather pair,” Elliott said during the podcast appearance, referring to the Doctor Strange actor, 45. “Every f–king time he would walk in from somewhere — he never was on a horse, maybe once — he’d walk into the f–king house, storm up the f–king stairs, go lay in his bed in his chaps, and play his banjo. It’s like, what the f–k?”
The movie, which earned 12 Oscar nominations and a directorial win for Campion, follows Phil Burbank in 1920s rural Montana as he teaches his brother’s new wife and her son how to run the family farm. Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee also star.
The film’s cast and creative time have since been outspoken in defense of the Western-inspired flick.
“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 toward an acceptance of the other and anything kind of difference,” the Sherlock alum said during a March interview with BAFTA Film Sessions. “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.”