Here is everything you need to know about The Last Duel, including the release date, cast and trailer.
Jodie Comer is a busy woman.
The actor – who picked up an Emmy for her role as Villanelle in Killing Eve in 2019, the same year she won a Stylist Remarkable Women Award – has two major movies coming up. The first is a turn as a video game programmer alongside Ryan Reynolds and Taika Waititi in the action comedy Free Guy, which is due for release on 13 August this year. After that is a historical epic called The Last Duel, out in cinemas on 15 October.
The trailer for the latter production has just been released, and Comer fans are seeing the star in a whole new light. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck co-wrote the script for The Last Duel, the first time the pair have worked together since they penned their Oscar-winning movie Good Will Hunting. They both also star in the film alongside Comer and Adam Driver.
Set in the 14th century, the story follows a man called Jean de Carrouges, who returns from war and discovers that his wife Marguerite has been the victim of sexual violence perpetrated by his friend, Jacques Le Gris. And though she has tried to tell people her story, nobody believes her. So her husband goes directly to the King of France for permission to fight Le Gris to the death.
Here’s everything we know about The Last Duel…
What is The Last Duel about?
The Last Duel is based on a book of the same name by Eric Jager that tells the true history of the last officially sanctioned duel fought in France. The fight took place on 29 December 1386 and was a trial by combat between Norman knight Jean de Carrouges and squire Jacques Le Gris.
Le Gris stood accused of raping de Carrouges’ wife Marguerite. The battle between the two knights would be the deciding factor in ascertaining the guilt of Le Gris. If Le Gris won, Marguerite would be burned at the stake for making a false accusation. If Carrouges won, Le Gris’ guilt would be confirmed.
What has Jodie Comer said about The Last Duel?
Speaking at New York Comic Con when the film was announced, Comer said that she is excited to work with director Ridley Scott, the man who made Alien, Blade Runner and Gladiator. “To work with Ridley, it’s just insane,” she enthused.
And what about Affleck and Damon? “Embarrassingly, I only watched Good Will Hunting like two years ago, which I probably shouldn’t say, working in the film industry,” she revealed.
In the same interview, Comer was asked whether she was aware of the age gap between her and Affleck and Damon, who are 47 and 49 respectively. (Comer was 26 at the time.) “No, but I’m going to bring that up,” Comer said. “I’ll let you know how that goes down. Probably lose my job.”
What is everyone saying about The Last Duel?
Given the film’s subject matter, there was some backlash on Twitter when it was announced. Many fans felt concerned that the movie was falling into the trap, common among historical epics, of using rape as a plot device. (Game Of Thrones and even our beloved Outlander, we’re looking at you.)
“I love you Jodie but the plot is horrible and you can do so much better than this,” one fan tweeted.
Comer, though, has stressed that the movie approaches the subject matter in a sensitive way. “When I read the script, I loved the script,” she said at New York Comic Con. “The character is this remarkable woman who risked her own life and reclaimed her life in the process and I’m so excited, honestly.”
One of the major criticisms about the film centred on the fact that, even with the sensitive subject matter, Damon and Affleck were writing the script with Scott – another man – directing it. Some of those concerns should be allayed by the news that Damon and Affleck co-wrote the film with Nicole Holofcener, Oscar-nominated writer and director behind movies like Can You Ever Forgive Me and Enough Said. Holofcener is one of the best screenwriters in the business, Damon said, whose gift is the ability to convey the nuance of human emotion and behaviour onscreen.
“We wrote for the first time in 25 years with Nicole Holofcener,” Damon said in 2019, “[She] is a hero of ours – amazing writer, she’s great. The three of us wrote this thing, so hopefully we will shoot it next year.”
Watch the trailer for The Last Duel
What is the release date of The Last Duel?
The Last Duel will be released in cinemas across the UK from 15 October.
Images: Getty, 20th Century Pictures
Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.