Ridley Scott knows how to make a historical epic, winning the Best Picture Oscar with his highly quotable Gladiator but also directing medieval movies such as Kingdom of Heaven and Robin Hood.
Scott’s next trip back in time looks to be a much smaller and more personal affair however, with The Last Duel focusing on a dispute between two friends that leads to the last legally sanctioned duel in France’s history.
With an incredible cast including the likes of Jodie Comer, Matt Damon and Adam Driver, this timely historical drama will surely lead to several acting nominations at the next awards season.
Here’s everything you need to know about The Last Duel.
The Last Duel release date
The Last Duel will be released in cinemas on Friday 15th October 2021.
Like many films recently, The Last Duel has been delayed by nearly a year – it was previously scheduled for winter 2020.
The Last Duel cast
Lifelong friends Matt Damon and Ben Affleck will be reuniting on-screen for the first time in years in The Last Duel, after the two frequently co-starred in several films during the 1990s and early 2000s.
Damon will be playing Jean de Carrouges, a Norman knight who challenges his squire Jacques Le Gris to the titular duel after claims he attacked Carrouges’s wife. Affleck will be playing the slightly smaller role of Peter II of Alençon, the Count of Alençon who has an affinity for Jacques.
Killing Eve‘s Jodie Comer will bring her unrivalled ability for accents to the role of Marguerite de Carrouges, Jean’s wife who accuses Jacques of rape.
Jacques Le Gris himself will be played by Star Wars star Adam Driver, who will be swapping lightsaber duels for a slightly lower-tech clash after Jean challenges his character to trial by combat.
Not only does The Last Duel star Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, but the film was also co-written by the two friends and frequent collaborators – their first joint screenplay since their Oscar-winning breakthrough Good Will Hunting.
The Last Duel is directed by Ridley Scott – not to be confused with his similarly-named 1977 historical drama and first film The Duellists.
What is The Last Duel based on?
The Last Duel is based on the nonfiction book The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France by American literary critic and medieval literature specialist Eric Jager. In turn, the book is based on the true story of the last officially recognised judicial duel fought in France.
Jager’s book has been read (in abridged form) by Robert Glenister in BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week series, and was the subject of a drama-documentary broadcast on BBC4 in 2008.
What is The Last Duel about?
As described in Jager’s book, The Last Duel tells the story of France’s last official trial by combat which took place on December 29, 1386.
As the fourteenth century comes to a close in medieval France, Marguerite de Thibouville claims she’s been raped by her husband’s best friend and squire Jacques Le Gris. Unsatisfied with the decision by a biased local court, Marguerite’s husband Jean de Carrouges then travels to Paris where King Charles VI makes the rare declaration that the dispute can be settled by a duel – with Marguerite set to be burnt at the stake if Jean loses.
The resulting trial by combat between Jacques and Jean has become a French cultural legend in the centuries since, with historians continuing to debate the guilt and innocence of those involved to this day.
The Last Duel trailer
Check out the stylish trailer below – the teaser is wonderfully edited and features some phenomenal acting from Jodie Comer.