Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are reunited in the film The Last Duel (2021). Not only that, the two also collaborated with Nicole Holofcener to design the script for the film directed by Ridley Scott. In fact, Ben and Matt have started designing the script for this film since before the pandemic.
IDN Times has spoken with the stars and scriptwriters at a press conference on Saturday (9/10/2021). The following is the story behind the journey of The Last Duel film and its relation to history.
1. The Last Duel is the result of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s long dream
The Last Duel tells the story of a famous historical conflict, namely the duel between Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris. When Marguerite de Carrouges, wife of Jean de Carrouges is abused by Le Gris, she bravely uncovers the culprit. However, this actually puts Marguerite’s life in danger.
This film is a place for Ben Affleck and Matt Damon to work together again. The reason they chose this piece of history to film is also interesting. Matt Damon said the creative process of making The Last Duel script took a long time, almost a full year.
They also discussed with Eric Jager, author of The Last Duel: A True Story of Crime, Scandal, and Trial by Combat in Medieval France . The book departs from Eric’s direct observations in the Normandy region, France.
“I found problematic documents related to this case. Later, I also found documents that were too underrated on this matter. It was, therefore, a great surprise to me to learn that what historians and scholars have been saying for centuries, that Marguerite was guilty or lying, doesn’t seem right to me,” explains Eric.
2. The result of an adaptation of a historical story full of hidden facts
The Last Duel is adapted from an alternative history book written by Eric Jager. Eric wants to re-explain how this historic event in France happened through in-depth research. Therefore, the three scriptwriters, namely Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Nicole Holofcener, faced many challenges.
Matt Damon himself admitted that he was surprised when Ben Affleck was offered to work on the story. “You want to write this!?” said Matt recalling his shock. However, it is not without reason that they want to adapt this story. The storyline of The Last Duel aims to straighten out the real conditions of the conflict in the 1500s era. No wonder Ben Affleck was attracted to make this film script.
“We (Matt, Ben, and Nicole) knew this was an extraordinary story. The question was how we could tell this story in an engaging way. Finally, we came up with this perspective idea. Therefore, audiences could see two-thirds of the film. to understand the real hero in this story is this woman (Marguerite de Carrouges),” said Matt Damon
3. Presented in three different perspectives
One of the unique improvisations of this film is that it manages to transform a city in Ireland. This happened because the entire crew and cast were stuck in Ireland while filming, due to the policy of limiting activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, Matt Damon’s face was plastered on many restaurants in the city.
Meanwhile, in terms of production, the scriptwriter also opened up improvisation for the cast. Jodie Comer, who plays Marguerite de Carrouges said that the story structure of this film is interesting. The Last Duel is divided into three perspective acts, but there is only one truth from all three perspectives.
“The presence of Nicole (Holofcener) makes the female character in this film even more alive,” explained Matt. Ben Affleck also added, “This film is also here to break the stigma that female characters in films are usually only secondary figures. This film departs from historical stories and can still be relevant to current issues.”
4. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck want this film to be authentic with historical accuracy
The toughest challenge in the process of making this film is maintaining the accuracy of the history it brings. Ben Affleck stated that the film would not be contemporary. The reason is so that it can truly represent the pieces of history that were brought and not seem fictional. Not only clothing, this film also needs to pay attention to other aspects.
In fact, we also studied the way of speaking, both accent and language in order to represent the history. We don’t want this film to be contemporary because later it will not be accurate to history,” explained Ben Affleck.
5. The Last Duel has a message that relates to the present
The Last Duel lifts a sensitive part of French history onto the big screen. However, this film certainly still has a story message that is timeless. The audience can feel the relateable part at the end of the story.
The Last Duel is here to explain the role of women in a story and make it the center of gravity. This film emphasizes the value to be brought from historical stories. Especially, the value of the institutions that are narrated in The Last Duel ,” explains Ben Affleck.
That’s all the facts about the film The Last Duel according to the cast and screenwriters. The film will premiere on the Disney+ streaming service . Are you ready to watch this historical film full of moral messages?