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The Last Duel release date: Trailer, cast for Ridley Scott historical epic

Adam Driver won't be using a lightsaber in this particular duel.

The Last Duel
Disney
Published: Wednesday, 13th October 2021 at 4:43 pm

Veteran director Ridley Scott might be in his 80s, but he's showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The celebrated filmmaker is set to release not one but two brand new films before the year is out.

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In November, Adam Driver and Lady Gaga will star in Scott's House of Gucci, but first, the Gladiator director makes his return to the historical epic genre with The Last Duel.

The movie tells the true story of a trial by combat in 14th century France, intriguingly exploring the run-up to the duel from three different perspectives: those of the two combatants and the woman who accused one of them of rape.

As you'd expect from a Ridley Scott picture, he's been able to draw on a very impressive cast – with Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck all in starring roles – while the latter two also wrote the screenplay alongside Nicole Holofcener.

It is the first time Damon and Affleck have written a script together since the huge success of their Oscar-winning screenplay for Good Will Hunting in 1998, and they'll no doubt be hoping that this one can prove just as successful.

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Here’s everything you need to know about The Last Duel.

The Last Duel release date

The Last Duel will be released in UK cinemas on Friday 15th October 2021, almost a year after it had originally been scheduled.

The Last Duel cast

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck

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 stars as Marguerite de Carrouges, Jean's wife who accuses Jacques of rape, and she recently explained to RadioTimes.com what it was that attracted her to the role.

"[It was] ultimately to give this woman a voice and to tell her part of the story," she said. "I’d read the book and all these events happened because of something that happened to her, yet there was very, very little account of her and her experience. So to hear that’s what the creators really wanted to explore and champion was what really excited me."

Meanwhile, Jacques Le Gris himself will be played by Star Wars actor 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.

The Last Duel plot

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.

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The Last Duel will be released on 15th October 2021. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide or visit our Movies hub for all the latest news.

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