Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are joining forces once again for director Ridley Scott’s 14th-century drama The Last Duel, as Deadline first reported.
The duo will produce, star in and co-write the script for the film alongside screenwriter Nicole Holofcener, known for the comedy-drama indie flick Friends with Money, the charming 2013 romance Enough Said and 2018’s Melissa McCarthy-led crime drama Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Based on a revenge novel by famed literary critic and medieval lit expert Eric Jager, the film stars Affleck as the knight Jean de Carrouges and Damon as the squire Jacques Le Gris. While the two were once best friends, the relationship is strained when Carrouges returns from war and accuses Le Gris of raping his wife Margerite. Wait, what?
When people refuse to believe Carrouges’s wife, he asks the king of France for a chance to prove it in a struggle that culminates with the two former friends locked in a duel to the death.
And it’s not just the two men’s lives on the line. If Carrouges loses, Margerite will be burned at the stake, too, because that’s fair.
Maybe we can see this as a critical look at the awful way our society treats victims when they voice accusations. We don’t know. We’re just hoping Mrs. Carrouges doesn’t end up on fire.
Whatever it is, the plot is already earning some attention on Twitter.
Some critics are voicing concern over using rape as a plot device and how the story of a woman’s rape will be helmed by three men.
The original book’s full, very wordy title—the author’s a medieval lit nerd, what do you expect—is The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France.
And it isn’t the first time we’ve seen its dramatic plot unfold onscreen. A drama-documentary based on the tale and featuring comments from Jager was broadcast by BBC Four for their medieval-themed season way back in 2008. But this will be the first time the 14th-century story will hit the big screen.
This is Damon and Affleck’s first co-writing gig since their 1997 indie drama classic Good Will Hunting bagged an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. We’ll have to see if their next venture into screenwriting will have similar results in terms of Oscar wins.
The two have also reunited as actors on other movies, including 1999’s fantasy-drama Dogma. As for Damon and Scott, this will be the first time they work together since 2015’s sleek sci-fi fantasy The Martian.
Scott, Damon and Affleck will all produce alongside Scott’s frequent producing partner Kevin Walsh. Drew Vinton will also produce under the Pearl Street Films banner, while Madison Ainsley will executive produce.
No word yet on when cameras start rolling or a release date, but with Damon revving up to start shooting Spotlight director Tom McCarthy’s newest directorial venture Stillwater next month, it may be a little while.