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Ridley Scott has dominated the movie scene for decades. The prolific director brought audiences unforgettable films like Alien, Gladiator, Blade Runner, and Hannibal. He has directed films in numerous genres, always delivering sweeping visuals and intense action. 

Scott’s newest film explores events that occurred in the 14th century. The Last Duel is sure to be full of the excitement fans are expecting, but it will also tell an important story of an unknown woman and her fight against injustice. 

‘The Last Duel’: Ridley Scott does it again

Ridley Scott attending 'The Last Duel' premiere in Paris, France
Ridley Scott attending ‘The Last Duel’ premiere | Dominique Charriau/Getty Images For Disney

Ridley Scott’s latest project is a sweeping epic based on a true story. These true crime events occurred during the Hundred Years’ War, but the theme still resonates powerfully in today’s society. 

The film follows the story of Jean de Carrouges, a beloved knight, and Jacques Le Gris, a well-respected noble. The two friends turn into bitter enemies when Carrouges’ wife accuses Le Gris of rape. 

Le Gris denies the accusations, but Carrouges believes his wife and the court agrees to a “trial by combat.” The two men are then set to participate in a final duel, which affects their lives and that of Carrouges’ wife. If he should lose the duel, she will also face death for making false accusations. 

The Last Duel has a powerful cast, including Matt Damon (Jean de Carrouges), Adam Driver (Jacques Le Gris), and Ben Affleck (Count Pierre d’Alencon). Additionally, Jodie Comer of Killing Eve will play Marguerite de Carrouges, who is really at the center of the entire film. Her performance is sure to be phenomenal, as she portrays a fearless woman who was defiant enough to stand up for her rights at a time when such an act was unheard of.  

The film is based on a true crime book

The Last Duel is based on the book The Last Duel: A True Story of Crime, Scandal, and Combat in Medieval France by Eric Jager. Extensive research in Normandy and France uncovered the intriguing tale of the three characters in the new film. The book delves deep into the customs of the time, which seem archaic but reflect similar problems in society today. 

In 1386, public executions were common and not only used for punishment but as a way to entertain the masses. Duels to the death were rare, however, and the public eagerly awaited the chance to see something so exciting. The duel between Le Gris and Carrouges was the last legally sanctioned combat in France. 

According to Publishers Weekly, Jager is careful to explain the customs and beliefs of the time without appearing condescending. It is difficult to imagine how a duel between two men could prove their innocence and how the outcome of that duel has anything to do with whether a woman is telling the truth or lying about her accusation. However, 14th-century marriages were very different from now, and social standing in court played a big part in almost every conflict.

‘The Last Duel’ screenwriters were eager to put this heroic woman in the spotlight


Why Matt Damon Never Used His Trailer While Making ‘The Last Duel’

It’s easy to tell who the star of The Last Duel is, even just from watching the trailer. It may be named after the battle between the two leading men, but the catalyst for the story is Marguerite de Carrouges and the courage needed to fight her own personal battle. 

Many fans of Ridley Scott’s work will flock to the theater, eager for epic sword fights and thrilling visuals. While Scott will undoubtedly deliver everything the audience expects, the writers also want to ensure that the story hits the mark. Nicole Holofcener, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck worked together to write a film that encompasses the key components of historical content while also keeping the audience interested. 

In an interview with Variety, Holofcener, Damon, and Affleck reiterated the importance of their message. “This film is an effort to retell the story of a heroic woman from history whom most people haven’t heard of. We admired her bravery and unwavering determination and felt this was both a story that needed to be told and one whose drama would captivate audiences the way it moved us as writers.”

They also feel that the story, although centuries old, has a real connection to the problems we face today. “As we further explored the story, we found so many aspects of the formal, codified patriarchy of 14th century Western Europe to still be present in vestigial ways (and in some cases almost unchanged) in today’s society.”