Ridley Scott continues to defy his age. Now 83, the director’s latest film hits theaters this Fall after a COVID-related delay. It’s Scott’s first film since 2017’s “All The Money In The World” (one that he reshot in record time thanks to the ongoing Kevin Spacey scandal at the time), but “The Last Duel” fits nicely in his wheelhouse of historical dramas like 2005’s “Kingdom of Heaven” and his debut film from 1977, “The Duellists.”
“The Last Duel” is based on the 2004 book “The Last Duel: A True Story Of Trial By Combat In Medieval France” by Eric Jager. The film follows the events of the last officially recognized judicial duel fought in France that pit Norman knight Jean de Carrouges against his squire Jacques Le Gris after Carrouge’s wife, Marguerite, accused Le Gris of rape. The case was the scandal of its time and has since become a cultural legend of sorts in France and remains a source of great debate for historians.
Matt Damon (‘Stillwater’) stars as Carrouges, with Adam Driver (‘Annette‘) co-starring as his squire, Le Gris, while Jodie Comer (‘Killing Eve‘) plays Marguerite. Ben Affleck (‘The Way Back‘) leads the supporting cast as a local magistrate. Supporting players also include Harriet Walder (‘Succession‘), Nathaniel Parker (‘Ophelia‘), Sam Hazeldine (‘Killers Anonymous‘), and Michael McElhatton (‘Game Of Thrones‘).
Affleck and Damon co-wrote the screenplay for “The Last Duel” with Nicole Holofcener (‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?‘). Holofcener also produces with Scott, Kevin J. Walsh (‘Manchester By The Sea‘), and Jennifer Fox, best known for producing Dan Gilroy‘s films like 2014’s “Nightcrawler” and 2019’s “Velvet Buzzsaw.” In addition, Dariusz Wolski, who’s worked as the cinematographer on six of Scott’s films, including 2012’s “Prometheus,” returns as director of photography for the film.
With its trial by combat premise fueled by accusations of sexual abuse, “The Last Duel” may be a lightning rod for controversy in Hollywood. The aftermath of Harvey Weinstein‘s trial and the #MeToo movement still looms in popular culture. So too, unfortunately, does Rudy Guliani’s ridiculous proposition this January that trial by combat should decide the 2020 presidential election. Thankfully, Guliani had his license to practice law in New York and Washington DC suspended for that suggestion.
As octogenarian Scott churns away on his next film, “House Of Gucci,” “The Last Duel” hits theaters on October 15, courtesy of 20th Century Studios. Check out the trailer below.