Ridley Scott makes his return with The Last Duel, which centers around the historical faceoff between Sir Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) and Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) after Jean’s wife Marguerite (Jodie Comer) accuses Le Gris of being her rapist. The Last Duel is Scott’s first feature since All the Money in the World was released in 2017 and it almost featured a kiss scene between longtime friends Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The scene was cut from the final draft of the movie that made it to theaters, though the film still reunited Damon and Affleck. This is their first time co-writing a screenplay since Good Will Hunting in 1997.
The Last Duel makes sure to stay close to the real life events of the clash, and there’s a distinction of keeping as true to the source material as possible from the execution of Scott’s direction. The film possesses many elements that make it hard not to draw attention to itself. In an interview with ET, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck revealed that they almost shared an on-screen kiss and the direction instructed Damon to kneel in the particular scene instead.
“In the original actual version of that scene — the way that ceremony actually took place was that you kissed everybody on the mouth,” Ben Affleck explained, “…we had that in the script.” Matt Damon added that “that would’ve been our first on-screen kiss,” to which Ben Affleck replied, “it’s going to have to wait.” Those who are curious enough to catch a glimpse of the deleted scene are out of luck, as it was never filmed.
It’s safe to say that Scott realized the potential of social buzz that would result from an on-screen kiss between Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, though the specific intimacy between the two would have drawn away from The Last Duel‘s larger story. The film not only brings the two together to perform side-by-side, but the pair have penned the screenplay as a collaborative effort as well. This is their second screenplay that the duo has brought to life, sharing the writing credits with Academy-Award nominated writer Nicole Holofcener.
The Last Duel has been accused of plagiarism. According to Slash Film, the poster for the film is steals directly a popular Game of Thrones poster created by Mondo’s Martin Ansin back in 2012. For those who are unfamiliar with Ansin’s work, The Last Duel poster comes across as a striking piece of promotional material, but for those who are acquainted with the Game of Thrones artwork, the piece is less original and more redundant. It’s unmeasured whether the allegedly copied poster will hinder the success of The Last Duel at the box office, and it should be remembered that the cast has no control over how marketing is presented, meaning that blame should not be placed on Ben Affleck or Matt Damon. The Last Duel releases on October 15, 2021.