In a major surprise, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have teamed with Nicole Holofcener to write a new script titled The Last Duel — the duo’s first joint effort since they won Oscars for Good Will Hunting.
Ridley Scott is poised to direct the film, which is based on a novel by Eric Jager. The revenge story follows two best friends — to be played by Damon and Affleck — and when one goes to war, the other rapes his wife. The soldier learns of this upon his return, but no one will believe his wife, so he’s left with one recourse — he appeals to the king of France and challenges his former friend to a duel to the death. It’s based on a true story about the last legally sanctioned duel in France.
Now, I don’t know who is supposed to play who, but I don’t know if America is ready to see Matt Damon as a rapist. Or is that the whole point, that this would be his first chance to play a really horrible character? I don’t know, but this is a very provocative premise, and I’m very intrigued as to who will take which role. I also have to add that this isn’t exactly what I imagined Scott’s next film would be, and part of me wishes that Holofcener herself was directing The Last Duel, but beggars can’t be choosers, and I suppose it gives us a brief reprieve from Scott’s threatened Merlin movie — something we absolutely don’t need right now.
Apparently, Damon and Affleck will produce via their Pearl Street banner along with Scott and Kevin Walsh of Scott Free. Jager’s book was actually in development at Fox for many years, so Disney technically owns the script, but it may just let Damon and Affleck shop the project elsewhere, seeing as it doesn’t fit the studio’s mandate, and that’s what Disney did for Clint Eastwood and his Richard Jewell movie. I imagine most studios would be eager to have a Damon-Affleck project on their slate.
Damon previously starred in Scott’s Oscar-nominated sci-fi movie The Martian, and worked with Walsh as a fellow producer on Manchester by the Sea. Damon next stars opposite Christian Bale in Disney’s racing movie Ford v Ferrari. Apparently, Yahoo photographed Damon carrying around the Last Duel script, as the project is said to be heating up quickly.
Affleck is coming off of Netflix’s Triple Frontier and next stars opposite Anne Hathaway in the streamer’s The Last Thing He Wanted. He has also wrapped a Gavin O’Connor alcoholism drama for Warner Bros., as well as Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.
Damon and Affleck are represented by WME, and Deadline broke the news about The Last Duel.