Watch the first trailer for Ridley Scott's 'The Last Duel' Wed, 21 Jul 2021 05:00:00 +0100-Matt Damon battles Adam Driver for Jodie Comer's honor in the first trailer for Ridley Scott's 'The Last Duel'
Ridley Scott’s first big movie, way back in 1977, was a Harvey Keitel/Keith Carradine flick titled The Duelists, about two French soldiers during the time of Napoleon who become lifelong enemies periodically dueling each other over a long-forgotten trivial grudge. It would be ironic if The Last Duel, featuring Matt Damon as a knight who ends up dueling a friend-turned-rival (Adam Driver) over a rape accusation made by Damon’s wife (Jodie Comer), was Scott’s last movie. While Scott, like Clint Eastwood, seems determined to die on a movie set, the man is 83 years old. When I’m 83, I hope I’m healthy enough to watch a movie that looks as good as The Last Duel, let alone make one.
The trailer is shrewdly fashioned to make it look like Comer is the gloried protagonist, with her charge of sexual assault being framed as a defiant declaration of truth in a time and an act of courage. Whether or not she’s the actual star of the movie, I am reminded of the first teaser for Ben Affleck’s The Town, which positioned the film through the eyes of Rebecca Hall’s kidnapped bank teller rather than its actual lead, the bank robber (Affleck) who would later stalk and court his unknowing former captive. Speaking of which, Affleck is the film’s fourth major character, as this is somewhat being sold as a Damon/Affleck reunion both as actors and as screenwriters.
Based on Eric Jager’s nonfiction book The Last Duel: A True Story of Crime, Scandal and Trial by Combat in Medieval France, the screenplay comes courtesy of Affleck, Damon and Nicole Holofcener (Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Enough Said, Friends With Money), whose participation earns my interest and curiosity. The picture looks scrumptious enough, and it’s scheduled for October 15 as a clear contender (alongside West Side Story in December) as Disney’s 20th Century Pictures chases Oscar glory. I’m sure the think piece-discourse will be interesting, but general audiences won’t notice or care. They didn’t care about the online discourse over Green Book, Joker or Bohemian Rhapsody either. If they want to see it, they’ll show up, period.
But will general audiences show up? At a glance, presuming good reviews, The Last Duel has almost all the elements of a studio programmer that audiences still saw (pre-Covid) in theaters. It has a marquee director, an all-star ensemble cast, a high-concept hook and presumably good reviews. The only element it’ll be missing separating itself from the likes of Knives Out, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, Baby Driver or Ford v Ferrari is the promise of escapism. I’m guessing this flick will be tonally closer to Kingdom of Heaven than Matchstick Men. Even the action will be tragic, unless Damon and Driver team up to fight a bad guy like the end of First Knight.
The Last Duel is one of a handful of major “formally Fox” flicks that may well determine the fate of 20th Century Pictures as a producer/distributor of theatrical movies. I don’t think Disney is shuttering Searchlight anytime soon, since they have a tendency to release Best Picture Oscar winners (Slumdog Millionaire, 12 Years a Slave, Birdman, The Shape of Water and Nomadland just since 2009). And while I initially hoped that Disney was pursuing Fox to corner the market on the kind of adult-skewing biggies in which Fox once specialized, that market dried up due to streaming competition. When you don’t show up to Widows, The Hate U Give or A Cure For Wellness, not even The Greatest Showman can save them.
However, by coincidence and Covid, we’re about to see a rush of 20th Century and Searchlight pictures. Since prior contracts with HBO acting as the first pay-tv window for the last batch of Fox movies, Disney can’t just drop them on Disney+ or Hulu. So, now we’re getting Ryan Reynolds’ Free Guy (August 13), The Last Duel (October 15), the animated Ron’s Gone Wrong (October 22), Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story (December 10) and The Kings Man (December 22). Meanwhile, Searchlight will be releasing The Night House (August 20), Jessica Chastain’s The Eyes of Tammy Faye (September 17), Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch (October 22), Antlers (October 29) and Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley (December 3).
If all or even most of these films prove theatrically successful, (formally) Fox and friends may have a theatrical future at Disney. If not, we consumers will be at least partially to blame. And let’s not forget, movies as big as The Last Duel really do need theatrical revenue to justify themselves. We won’t be getting visually mega-movies like this on Netflix or Hulu, save for a few go-for-broke allowances for folks like Spike Lee or Martin Scorsese. It’s no longer a matter of whether we get films like In the Heights or The Last Duel in theaters, but rather (give or take Apple wanting theatrical prestige as the “next HBO”) whether we get them at all.
The historical epic is a cinematic and thought-provoking drama set in the midst of the Hundred Years War that explores the ubiquitous power of men, the frailty of justice and the strength and courage of one woman willing to stand alone in the service of truth. Based on actual events, the film unravels long-held assumptions about France’s last sanctioned duel between Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris, two friends turned bitter rivals. Carrouges is a respected knight known for his bravery and skill on the battlefield. Le Gris is a Norman squire whose intelligence and eloquence make him one of the most admired nobles in court. When Carrouges’ wife, Marguerite, is viciously assaulted by Le Gris, a charge he denies, she refuses to stay silent, stepping forward to accuse her attacker, an act of bravery and defiance that puts her life in jeopardy. The ensuing trial by combat, a grueling duel to the death, places the fate of all three in God’s hands.
Oscar® winner Matt Damon (“Good Will Hunting,” “Ford v Ferrari”) is Jean de Carrouges, two-time Academy Award® nominee Adam Driver (“Marriage Story,” “BlacKkKlansman”) is Jacques Le Gris, Emmy® winner Jodie Comer (“Killing Eve,” “Free Guy”) is Marguerite de Carrouges and two-time Oscar winner Ben Affleck (“Argo,” “Good Will Hunting”) is Count Pierre d’Alençon. The screenplay is by Oscar nominee Nicole Holofcener (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”) & Ben Affleck & Matt Damon based on the book by Eric Jager. The film is produced by Ridley Scott, Kevin J. Walsh (“Manchester by the Sea”), Jennifer Fox (“Nightcrawler”), Nicole Holofcener, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck with Kevin Halloran (“Ford v Ferrari”), Drew Vinton (“Promised Land”), Madison Ainley (“Justice League”) serving as executive producers.
“The Last Duel” is based on Eric Jager’s book The Last Duel: A True Story of Crime, Scandal, and Trial by Combat in Medieval France, which brings the turbulent Middle Ages to life in striking detail. When etiquette, social aspirations and justice were driven by the codes of chivalry, the consequences for defying the institutions of the time – the Church, the nobility at court, a teenage king – could be severe. For a woman navigating these violent times, one who had no legal standing without the support of her husband, the stakes were even higher.
“I love working with Matt, so it was an added bonus to be able to work with him and Ben as both actors and as screenwriters, along with Nicole Holofcener, and I knew it would be a great result,” says director/producer Ridley Scott. “I had admired the show ‘Killing Eve’ and had been looking for the opportunity to present Jodie Comer with a challenging role. Her performance as Marguerite will make her one of the great actresses of her generation.”
“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 resolute 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. 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,” says Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. “We chose to use the device of telling the story from several character’s perspectives in order to examine the immutable fact that although often multiple people who experience the same event come away with differing accounts, there can only be one truth.”
'Last Duel' Trailer: Does Disney See A Theatrical Future For 20th … Wed, 21 Jul 2021 05:00:00 +0100-As many of you might know, Sir Ridley Scott made his name with a film about duels in France, and now, some 40 years later, he's headed back to the land of …
As many of you might know, Sir Ridley Scott made his name with a film about duels in France, and now, some 40 years later, he’s headed back to the land of champagne and cheese for a tale about — you guessed it — duels (really, though, if you haven’t seen The Duelists, absolutely watch it as soon as possible). Originally scheduled for release in 2020, The Last Duel is a big film for Scott as well as its two leads, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, who penned the screenplay alongside filmmaker Nicole Holofcener. It’s their first since Good Will Hunting, so expect Boston to go apeshit like they did when The Town came out. But, back to the matter at hand — 20th Century Studios dropped the first trailer for the film earlier on Tuesday, and man, it looks solid as hell.
Take a look:
Here’s a synopsis:
“The historical epic is a cinematic and thought-provoking drama set in the midst of the Hundred Years War that explores the ubiquitous power of men, the frailty of justice and the strength and courage of one woman willing to stand alone in the service of truth. Based on actual events, the film unravels long-held assumptions about France’s last sanctioned duel between Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris, two friends turned bitter rivals. Carrouges is a respected knight known for his bravery and skill on the battlefield. Le Gris is a Norman squire whose intelligence and eloquence make him one of the most admired nobles in court. When Carrouges’ wife, Marguerite, is viciously assaulted by Le Gris, a charge he denies, she refuses to stay silent, stepping forward to accuse her attacker, an act of bravery and defiance that puts her life in jeopardy. The ensuing trial by combat, a grueling duel to the death, places the fate of all three in God’s hands.”
The Last Duel hits theaters on October 15, which is about a month and a week before House of Gucci ruins all discussion at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
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– July 21, 2021
The Last Duel Last Duel39; Trailer Does Disney See A Theatrical Future For 20th