20th Century Studios has released the first trailer for Ridley Scott’s “The Last Duel.” Based on a true story and set in medieval times, the film is described as a gripping tale of betrayal and vengeance set against the brutality of 14th century France. In it, Matt Damon plays Jean de Carrouges, a respected knight known for his bravery and skill on the battlefield. Adam Driver plays his best friend Jacques Le Gris, a Norman squire whose intelligence and eloquence make him one of the most admired nobles in court. Their friendship turns sour when Carrouges’ wife, Marguerite (Jodie Comer), 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.
Scott is no stranger to these epic medieval tales where knights and warriors cross swords and clash against each other. But there is more relevancy to this story than a knight and squire friendship falling apart. The true story, which was then turned into a book by Eric Jager, finds itself standing up to the patriarchy and social institutions set up by man. The fact that it deals with sexual assault makes it even more timely as more and more women are speaking out against their assailants.
“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,” says director/producer Ridley Scott. “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.”
“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,” says Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. “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.”
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 Last Duel” opens in theaters on October 15, 2021.