Matt Damon, Jodie Comer on Film’s Relevance – The Hollywood Reporter

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The Last Duel could happen in 14th century France, however the film’s workforce is nicely conscious of its relevance in 2021.

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In the brand new twentieth Century Studios undertaking, associates Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) and Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) grow to be enemies after de Carrouges’ spouse Marguerite (Jodie Comer) accuses Le Gris of rape.

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The Ridley Scott-directed film, based mostly on precise occasions and tailored from Eric Jager’s 2004 e-book The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France, follows Marguerite as she refuses to remain silent when Le Gris denies her claims of the violent assault. The males quickly take part in a trial by fight, the place they duel to the loss of life.

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While The Last Duel offers closely with violence in opposition to a girl, Nicole Holofcener — who co-wrote the screenplay with Damon and Ben Affleck — mentioned the film was “by no means” impressed by the #MeToo motion. “We clearly can make the connection. We knew folks would learn it as that in a approach, however we simply wished to inform this story — her story — and never be preachy or faux to grasp what different victims undergo,” she advised The Hollywood Reporter on the film’s New York City premiere on Saturday.

Damon added that he knew the film can be in comparison with the motion, saying, “it definitely appears like a movie that’s related at the moment.”

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The cowriter and star shared that the film’s mission was for viewers perceive that Marguerite advised the reality about the assault. “As filmmakers, we wished to make it clear that this isn’t a both-sides factor. Hopefully everybody comes out of the movie with the understanding that she’s telling the reality,” he mentioned.

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“The solely one that shouldn’t be away from that’s Adam Driver’s character and that’s what was fascinating to us. Can any individual’s acculturation and their expertise utterly blind them to their actions and the have an effect on that they’re having on another person?” Damon continued. “That appeared like a very fascinating factor to discover.”

Damon defined that The Last Duel will not be about the villain “doing one thing that he is aware of is improper” and is as an alternative about “the system that actually was raping this girl from the second she was born.”

Comer advised THR that she “simply needed to focus on Marguerite, on her story and on ensuring she was totally fleshed out and join that to the time,” moderately than to a bigger #MeToo message, although the forged and crew did really feel “an obligation of care understanding that there are nonetheless so many individuals who expertise this act of violence at the moment and understanding that shall be troublesome for folks to observe and wanting the depiction to be truthful and dealt with sensitively.”

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Actress Harriet Walter mentioned from her standpoint, nonetheless, the #MeToo motion “definitely informs” the film. “You can’t watch it without feeling these points and parallels resonating,” she mentioned.

Walter additionally praised the film’s screenplay writing workforce for writing with an “enlightened perspective.” She mentioned, “I feel it’s a feminist film in that Matt [Damon] and Ben [Affleck] have been very beneficiant and really self-effacing in a approach that we don’t assume males often are. They are distinctive in that they’re ready to take a look at the nasty, ugly facet of the male character.”

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Similar to many productions up to now 12 months, The Last Duel was compelled shut down filming for months amid the coronavirus pandemic. Once the forged and crew returned to set following the hiatus, Comer mentioned she grew to understand the film much more.

“I actually cherished seeing everybody’s gusto and everybody was so grateful to be again and appreciative,” she mentioned. “You can get a bit complacent; folks begin moaning about the early mornings. And then after 5 months everybody was simply, ‘We wish to get again. We wish to end this.’Everyone was so passionate.”

This film marks the second screenplay writing collaboration for Damon and Affleck, who beforehand gained one of the best unique screenplay Oscar in 1998 for Good Will Hunting.

Despite their first film’s overwhelming success, Damon mentioned the duo didn’t really feel “pressured” for his or her second collaborative effort, and their solely objective was to “write one thing that we love.”

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“It was nice that everybody cherished Good Will Hunting and that it bought quite a lot of consideration, however that’s not a factor that we had any management of,” Damon mentioned. “What we had management of in that state of affairs is what we now have management of on this state of affairs, which is the script and the factor that we hand to the director and we’re actually happy with that work.”

Damon defined that he and Affleck (who additionally has a costarring function) “shamelessly begged” Holofcener to co-write the screenplay with them and added that they’re “so glad” with the ultimate product.

Holofcener additionally spoke about writing with the pair and mentioned it was “flattering and thrilling” that they wished to work together with her.

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“They had inside jokes and laughs about the previous and so they know one another so nicely, however it actually didn’t matter. We all labored collectively rather well. It was actually enjoyable regardless of the grim nature of the movie,” she mentioned. “Getting that proper was actually, actually vital.”

The Last Duel hits theaters on Friday.

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