The Last Duel: how Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Nicole Holofcener shared the script

In theaters on October 13, Ridley Scott’s new event film, adapted from the historical novel of the same name, was written by six hands.

24 years later Will hunting, Ben affleck and Matt damon collaborate again, accompanied by Nicole holofcener, for writing the Last Duel, realized by Ridley scott. And for a true story told in three points of view, three different authors were not too many.

From Will Hunting to the Last Duel

At the 1998 Oscars ceremony, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, aged only 26 and 28 at the time, enjoyed the consecration by receiving the award for best original screenplay for Will hunting. Written with four hands, this film directed by Gus Van Sant and starring the late Robin Williams (who received the Oscar for best supporting role) allows them to launch their Hollywood career with a bang. With the success we know.

Longtime friends, the two stars have found themselves side by side several times in front of the camera, but they had never reworked together on the writing of a screenplay. The fact that they take up the pen again, 24 years after their first association, for the writing of a historical film in three parts, is therefore a small event. What is more to tell the last duel of the French Middle Ages, between the knight Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) and his former friend Jacques Legris (Adam Driver), the latter being accused of having raped Marguerite (Jodie comer), the wife of the first. All with the renowned director of Gladiator : Sir Ridley Scott.

But how do you write a story like this, especially in 2021, and avoid dead ends? To feed the screenplay from a female point of view, essential to the plot and its challenges, the author duo decided to expand their team, opening the door to screenwriter Nicole Holofcener (Friends with Money, The beauty of the gesture, All About Albert). As her filmography proves, this author is used to writing female characters immersed in their time. She brought her gaze to Last duel. A story apparently very masculine but where the feminine feeling is in fact primordial.

Jodie Comer and Matt Damon face off in the first clip of The Last Duel

Two men and a woman

Invited on the set of Jimmy Fallon last July, Matt Damon explained the process of writing the film, based on the historical novel by Eric Jager published in 2004: “We saw it as a story of perspectives, so Ben and I wrote men’s perspective and Nicole wrote Marguerite’s perspective. It’s an adaptation of a book we read, but Nicole’s part is almost an original screenplay“he added to New York Times, in September.

A method confirmed by Nicole Holofcener, during the press conference held in Paris at the end of September: “I mostly wrote the Marguerite part, and after a while we collaborated with Ben and Matt, but I did a lot more work on her part than on the first two., recounts the screenwriter, adding that the trio have traded at the time of writing, but if each has become attached to a part, the three “worked together “.

This work lasted nearly six weeks, culminating in the production by Ridley Scott of a breathtaking historical drama, where questionings of the condition of women in the Middle Ages mingle in the post- # MeToo era through these three archetypal figures. and this detailed account in three chapters and three different looks. A mixture of points of view that could be rewarded at the next Oscars.

The Last Duel by Ridley Scott, starring Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer and Ben Affleck, in theaters October 13.

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