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The Last Duel: Everything You Need to Know

7/20/2021 • 4 min read

Ridley Scott had made an amazing number of movies, and he's got an amazing knack for creating films that are cult classics, purely iconic, and often both at the same time. Scott made ALIEN, BLADE RUNNER, THELMA & LOUISE, GLADIATOR, and THE MARTIAN (above), and that's just the first wave of his accomplishments. Each new Ridley Scott film is an event film fanatics can’t miss. This is doubly true for his newest movie, THE LAST DUEL.

Why? For starters, who doesn’t love a good duel? There is also a weird symmetry to the fact that Scott started his feature film career with a film called THE DUELLISTS, about — you guessed it — a very long duel, and now, at 82 years old, delivers THE LAST DUEL. We hope this isn’t Ridley Scott’s final film, but he couldn’t have planned a better thematic exit if that’s how things end up.

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The Last Duel Release Date

THE LAST DUEL will be in theatres on October 15. The release will help kick off the year’s award season and energize the fall film schedule with some medieval conflict.

Watch the First Trailer for The Last Duel

The first trailer for THE LAST DUEL introduces all the characters and shows off some instantly memorable looks for Damon and Affleck. This trailer makes it seem like we'll get to see Damon in villain mode, which is interesting! It also suggests that, much in the vein of Akira Kurosawa's famed movie RASHOMON, THE LAST DUEL will feature clashing recollections of the central story, leading the audience to wonder about the truth of the situation until the very end.

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What Is The Last Duel About?

A duel of course! Oh, you’d like more specifics?

THE LAST DUEL is based on a historic event; it tells the story of best pals Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris, a knight and a squire. They need to fight because Carrouges returns from war in Scotland to find his wife Marguerite pregnant and accusing Le Gris of rape. Whether or not the crime occurred was uncertain. In fact, no party could prove their account of the accusation, so a duel was set to decide guilt or innocence before the eyes of God. What we do know is this was the last officially recognized duel in French history. All French duels taking place after this one were strictly off the books.

This particular story is unusual because there are surprisingly few reliable factual accounts of duels. In this case, however, there are five different accounts of the event, offering a detailed and sometimes contradictory chronicle.

A good movie duel is fun, but it’s better when it’s between two friends. And it’s even better than that when the two friends are played by actors we love.

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The Cast of The Last Duel

Here is where THE LAST DUEL really shines. THE MARTIAN star Matt Damon plays Jean de Carroughes, the accuser of Jacques Le Gris, who is played by Adam Driver (STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS). The story takes place in the 1300s, so the duel in question will probably involve jousting and sword fighting. And we all know how well Adam Driver can swing a sword. (Well, a lightsaber, but it’s basically the same thing.) Can Matt Damon match his skills? Given the dedication he bought to his role in THE MARTIAN, the answer is probably yes.

And that’s not all! Jodie Comer ("Killing Eve," FREE GUY) plays Marguerite. And Damon’s old pal Ben Affleck also appears as King Charles VI, sporting blonde locks for the part. Given the history of their playful friendship on-screen and off, it is tempting to wish Damon were dueling Affleck. But narratively and thematically it makes more sense for him to accuse a younger guy. So, Adam Driver it is!

The Filmmakers Behind The Last Duel

Speaking of the working partnership between Damon and Affleck…

Normally the biggest name here would be director Ridley Scott, but the big story behind THE LAST DUEL is the origin of the script. This movie marks the long-awaited reunion of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon as a feature screenwriting team. They are joined the equally notable Nicole Holofcener, who wrote Marguerite's perspective for the story, as explained in the video clip above.

Holofcener earned an Oscar nomination for CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?, and Affleck and Damon won an Oscar for their first produced script, 1997's GOOD WILL HUNTING. Now, over 20 years later, Affleck and Damon have written other movies and we'll get to see how their experience informs the new team-up. Will the magic still be there? Under the watchful eye of Ridley Scott, we're certain it will.

 

THE LAST DUEL arrives in October 2021!

 

All images courtesy of 20th Century Studios and Lucasfilm.

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