Ridley Scott is back with The Last Duel, a historical epic based on the true story of knight Jean de Carrouges and squire Jacques Le Gris, two men who started off on good terms and then became mortal enemies. Matt Damon, Adam Driver, and Jodie Comer star in the movie, which is due out this fall. Watch the first The Last Duel trailer below.
The Last Duel Trailer
The prolific Ridley Scott has not one, but two, movies on the way. One is The House of Gucci. The other is The Last Duel, a big historical epic based on a true story, and the book by Eric Jager. It’s the story of two men who enter into the final duel to be sanctioned by governing powers. The men are Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon, who looks really out of place in a film set in this era) and Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver, who looks perfectly at home). Le Gris is accused by de Carrouges’ wife Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer) of rape, and so the two men enter into a duel. But there’s more at stake here than the two men’s lives. If Le Gris wins the duel, that will effectively make Marguerite’s accusations “false” – and she will be put to death.
Here’s the full synopsis:
The historical epic is a cinematic and thought-provoking drama set in the midst of the Hundred Years War that explores the ubiquitous power of men, the frailty of justice and the strength and courage of one woman willing to stand alone in the service of truth. Based on actual events, the film unravels long-held assumptions about France’s last sanctioned duel between Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris, two friends turned bitter rivals. Carrouges is a respected knight known for his bravery and skill on the battlefield. Le Gris is a Norman squire whose intelligence and eloquence make him one of the most admired nobles in court. When Carrouges’ wife, Marguerite, is viciously assaulted by Le Gris, a charge he denies, she refuses to stay silent, stepping forward to accuse her attacker, an act of bravery and defiance that puts her life in jeopardy. The ensuing trial by combat, a grueling duel to the death, places the fate of all three in God’s hands.
The cast features Matt Damon as Jean de Carrouges, Adam Driver as Jacques Le Gris, Jodie Comer as Marguerite de Carrouges, and Ben Affleck as Count Pierre d’Alençon. Affleck and Damon also worked on the script, along with Nicole Holofcener.
The Story of a Heroic Woman
The fact that the plot of The Last Duel hinges on sexual assault is bound to make some viewers uneasy. The folks involved with the film are clearly aware of this, and are therefore trying to underline the fact that the film is going to focus heavily on Marguerite and not just make her a victim and secondary character. Part of the film’s logline stresses: “When etiquette, social aspirations and justice were driven by the codes of chivalry, the consequences for defying the institutions of the time – the Church, the nobility at court, a teenage king – could be severe. For a woman navigating these violent times, one who had no legal standing without the support of her husband, the stakes were even higher.”
In a joint statement, screenwriters Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon said:
“This film is an effort to retell the story of a heroic woman from history whom most people haven’t heard of. We admired her bravery and resolute determination and felt this was both a story that needed to be told and one whose drama would captivate audiences the way it moved us as writers. As we further explored the story, we found so many aspects of the formal, codified patriarchy of 14th century Western Europe to still be present in vestigial ways (and in some cases almost unchanged) in today’s society. We chose to use the device of telling the story from several character’s perspectives in order to examine the immutable fact that although often multiple people who experience the same event come away with differing accounts, there can only be one truth.”
And director Ridley Scott added: “I love working with Matt, so it was an added bonus to be able to work with him and Ben as both actors and as screenwriters, along with Nicole Holofcener, and I knew it would be a great result. I had admired the show Killing Eve and had been looking for the opportunity to present Jodie Comer with a challenging role. Her performance as Marguerite will make her one of the great actresses of her generation.”
The Last Duel opens October 15, 2021.
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