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Jane Campion challenges Sam Elliott to a ‘shootout’ after ‘Dog’ fight

Shots fired. “Power of the Dog” director Jane Campion isn’t finished with Sam Elliott yet: Fresh off swatting down the actor’s “sexist” criticism of her 12-time Oscar-nominated flick, the auteur isn’t backing down, challenging him to a mock “shootout.” The Best Director Oscar nominee threw down the gauntlet during a Friday appearance on the Hollywood Reporter’s “Awards Chatter Podcast.” “OK, Sam, let’s meet down at the Warner Brothers lot for a shootout!” Campion, 67, told host Scott Feinberg. “I’m bringing Doctor Strange [the Marvel character portrayed in films by Benedict Cumberbatch, who also starred in “Dog”] with me!” She was responding to the 77-year-old Western icon’s inflammatory appearance on Marc Maron’s “WTF Podcast” two weeks ago, in which he’d labelled her opus a “piece of s – – t.” The “Tombstone” star also compared the characters to Chippendales dancers “who wear bowties and not much else.” During his bizarre tirade, the “Road House” star had singled out Campion, claiming that despite being a “brilliant director,” the New Zealand-born auteur was unfit to direct a Western set in Montana in the early 20th century. “I love her previous work, but what the f – – k does this woman from down there, New Zealand, know about the American West?” Elliott ranted, further slamming her decision to film the Western in her motherland. The comments didn’t sit well with Campion, who criticized Elliott’s cowboy credentials in the THR interview. “It has to be said, I think, he was being a bit of a b-i-t-c-h, because, you know, he’s not a cowboy either, he’s an actor — he grew up in Sacramento and was educated in Oregon, you know?” “The Piano” director fumed in reference to Elliott’s decidedly non-rugged upbringing. “We’re dealing in a fictional world, we’re dealing in a mythic universe.” The Academy Award winner continued, “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 found “The Big Lebowski” actor’s comments on her New Zealand background hypocritical given the popularity of spaghetti Westerns in the US, explaining: “You know, like, if you think about Sergio Leone movies, where were they shot? They were shot in Spain, and they are some of the greatest explorations of the Western myth ever made.” “So, you know, I think it’s just a little bit of a crusty cowboy problem,” she quipped. Campion is not the first member of the “Dog” pack to take Elliott to task. In a far gentler rebuttal last week, Benedict Cumberbatch dubbed the “Ghost Rider” actor’s remarks “very odd.” “Someone really took offense to the West being portrayed in this way,” said Cumberbatch, 45, who has been nominated for the Best Actor award for his role as the sadistic, closeted gay rancher Phil Burbank. “The Imitation Game” star added that his character was important as “these people still exist in our world,” explaining: “If we are to understand what poisons the well in men, what creates toxic masculinity, we need to look [under] the hood of characters like Phil Burbank to see what their struggle is and why that’s there in the first place. “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,” he added.

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