Benedict Cumberbatch responds to Sam Elliott criticizing The Power of the Dog's 'allusions of homosexuality'

Benedict Cumberbatch
(Image credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Benedict Cumberbatch has heard Sam Elliott's take on his film The Power of the Dog — and he finds it pretty odd.

Cumberbatch stars in the Oscar-nominated The Power of the Dog, and in a conversation with BAFTA, he reacted to Elliot railing against the movie and criticizing its "allusions of homosexuality."

"I'm trying very hard not to say anything about a very odd reaction that happened the other day on a radio podcast," Cumberbatch said, referring to Elliott's comments without mentioning the actor.

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During an appearance on the WTF podcast, Elliot called the Western starring Cumberbatch a "piece of s--t," complaining that "there's all these allusions of homosexuality throughout the f---ing movie" and asking, "Where's the Western in this Western?"

Cumberbatch said he hadn't heard the comments in full, but he noted that "someone really took offense to the West being portrayed in this way." He criticized this "denial that anybody could have anything other than a heteronormative existence because of what they do for a living or where they're born," adding that there's still "massive intolerance within the world at large towards homosexuality." In The Power of the Dog, Cumberbatch plays a man, Phil Burbank, who has repressed his homosexuality, and the film also explores toxic masculinity.

The actor brought up Elliott's remarks after he was asked why it's important to portray characters like this in the 21st century. "Because there are many of him still in the world," Cumberbatch said, "and I think if we're to teach our sons to be feminists, if we're to teach equality, if we're to understand what poisons the well in men, what creates toxic masculinity, we need to understand and look under the hood of characters like Phil Burbank."

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