The Last Duel directed by Ridley Scott came about from the pen of a trio of writers who used an unusual technique to write the film.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s latest screenwriting collaboration had sparked since Will Hunting directed by Gus Van Sant won them the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Twenty-four years later they put it back for The Last Duel directed this time by Ridley Scott.
If the director finds a universe of duel after his very first film The Duelists, the Damon-Affleck duo tried a new experience, since by allying themselves with Nicole Holofcener (director and screenwriter of All About Albert and Friends with Money), the trio implemented an amazing division of labor technique for writing the screenplay.
Indeed, the trio sought to get multiple perspectives on the event narrated by the film : that of the duel between Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) and Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver). The latter was accused of rape by his wife of Jean de Carrouges, Lady Marguerite (Jodie Comer). In the manner of Rashômon d’Akira Kurosawa, The Last Duel should therefore recount this historical fact through a multitude of views and therefore of interpretation, here that of three main characters.
And it is at this level that the writing process is rather intriguing since in an interview for Entertainment Tonight, Matt Damon returned to the particular working method to best match the female and male gaze of the characters:
A duel at the top
“It’s a story of points of view. So there are two knights and then there is Lady Marguerite. Ben [Affleck, ndlr] and so I wrote the male point of view and Nicole Holofcener wrote the female point of view. It’s a bit like the architecture of this film. We were like, “What if that happened?”, And we wrote different scenes. So we had all these disparate scenes and we tried to put them together to look like a movie. “
A long-term work which allows to obtain three very distinct characters, influenced by the personality of its screenwriter and especially by his gender, which will give an interesting angle on the events. A technique that seems to have paid off when we see the crazy trailer that highlights very well the point of view of Lady Marguerite and gives the film a very modern perspective, integrating it squarely into current thinking in the MeToo era. Hopefully the film will retain this feeling.
While the film was originally scheduled for December 25, 2020 (but the pandemic decided otherwise), The Last Duel will finally arrive on screens on October 13, 2021. It will first be presented at the Venice Film Festival in September, where you can find the rest of the crazy programming.