Buzz built quickly for Ridley Scott’s in-production “House of Gucci,” which stars Lady Gaga alongside Adam Driver as the head of the Italian fashion label and will be released in the fall. Thanks to pandemic delays, 2021 will bring another high-profile Scott-Driver collaboration: “The Last Duel,” starring Driver, Matt Damon, Jodie Comer, and Ben Affleck.
Though it’s set in 14th century France, the film explores timely #MeToo themes. Based on Eric Jager’s “The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France,” the story centers around the last judicial duel to occur in the country — where one man was judged against the other in a deadly trial of swords. The duel is staged in response to the alleged rape of Marguerite de Carrouges (Comer) by Jacques Le Gris (Driver) and occurs after Jean de Carrouges (Damon) accuses Le Gris of the crime. There’s a lot on the line: If Carrouges loses the duel, his wife will be put to death as a false accuser.
“The truth does not matter. There is only the power of men,” one character says in the trailer.
The script was written by Nicole Holofcener, Affleck, and Damon. It marks the first time Affleck and Damon have collaborated on a screenplay since their Oscar-winning “Good Will Hunting” in 1997.
On The Bill Simmons Podcast (via Collider) two years ago, Damon discussed the trio’s writing process. “It’s really this movie about perspective, so Ben and I wrote the male perspectives and Nicole wrote the female perspective,” he said.
He continued: “’Good Will Hunting’ took us such a long time, and we always told ourselves and each other we just don’t have time to write. We’re never really in the same place for very long. And then this one we wrote so fast and I think it’s because in the intervening 25 years, we did nothing but make movies, so we know so much more about it now. Our process was so much more streamlined that without even trying to — we didn’t set a deadline for ourselves. I’d just show up at his house or he’d show up at my house and we’d write for three hours. We’d take the kids to school and then we’d just grab a coffee and sit down and start working, and suddenly it’s like, ‘Wait we have 20 pages? I think they’re good? I read them again last night.’ And before we knew it we had two-thirds of our movie and Nicole was every bit as fast, I mean she’s a professional writer so she’s great, and she’s faster than we are. Suddenly it’s like ‘Wait we have 150 pages guys, we gotta pare this down.’”
Holofcener earned a screenwriting Oscar nomination for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and wrote and directed “Enough Said,” starring James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, one of Gandolfini’s last films before his 2013 death.
20th Century Studios will release “The Last Duel” on October 15 in the U.S. MGM’s United Artists Releasing will release “House of Gucci” on November 24.