Jane Campion‘s soundbites are getting us through this awards season. The director of the Oscar-nominated The Power Of The Dog responded to actor Sam Elliott‘s criticism of her film, in which he criticized Campion’s direction, the film’s setting, and called it a “piece of shit,” first by calling him a “b-i-t-c-h.” And now she has cheekily challenged him to a gunfight.
In an interview on The Hollywood Reporter‘s Awards Chatter podcast, Campion stated, “He’s not a cowboy either, he’s an actor — he grew up in Sacramento and was educated in Oregon, you know? We’re dealing in a fictional world, we’re dealing in a mythic universe. The West is a myth, it doesn’t exist, Annie Proulx said that, and there’s a lot of room on the range to explore that myth. And this is just another version of it.” Campion also referred to Elliott’s remarks as “just a little bit of a crusty cowboy problem.”
“Okay, Sam,” she said jokingly, “let’s meet down at the Warner Brothers lot for a shootout! I’m bringing Doctor Strange with me,” referencing the Marvel character played by The Power Of The Dog actor Benedict Cumberbatch. Maybe Doctor Strange can open up a cowboy multiverse where everyone can exist together!
In addition to her verbal spars with Elliott, Campion found herself in the midst of another controversy this week after she made an offhand remark while accepting her Best Director statue at the Critics Choice Awards. Addressing attendees Venus and Serena Williams, Campion stated, “Serena and Venus you are such marvels, however you do not play against the guys like I have to.”
The comment drew criticism for making an unnecessary comparison that diminished the sisters achievements on and off the tennis court, and Campion quickly apologized, stating, “I made a thoughtless comment equating what I do in the film world with all that Serena Williams and Venus Williams have achieved. I did not intend to devalue these two legendary Black women and world-class athletes. The fact is the Williams sisters have, actually, squared off against men on the court (and off), and they have both raised the bar and opened doors for what is possible for women in this world. The last thing I would ever want to do is minimize remarkable women. I love Serena and Venus. Their accomplishments are titanic and inspiring. Serena and Venus, I apologize and completely celebrate you.”
Where to watch The Power of the Dog