Ridley Scott, Jodie Comer and co-writer Nicole Holofcener evoke “The Last Duel”, from its narrative structure to its very current subject, and the questions it raises.
Four years after the 70s of All the Money in the World, Ridley Scott goes back a little further in time, heading to the Middle Ages, the bloody theater of his new opus: The Last Duel. A title which obviously echoes that of his first feature film, Les Duellistes, and returns to a true story.
That of the last judicial duel to have taken place in France, between Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris, when the wife of the first accused the second of rape. Divided into three parts, each centered on a point of view (like Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon), the feature film is carried by Adam Driver and Jodie Comer, as well as Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, who co-wrote the screenplay with Nicole Holofcener (All About Albert).
And it is alongside Jodie Comer and Ridley Scott that the co-writer spoke of this cruel film but very current in its way of referring to the questions of the #MeToo era, during a press conference given in Paris.
DashFUN: How do you feel about presenting the film in Paris, a few kilometers from the places where the events took place?
Jodie comer : It makes it even more special. Even more unique.
Nicole holofcener : Especially when we see Notre Dame, which is under construction in our film.
The film is divided into three parts. In the first two, the character of Marguerite is seen through the eyes of men, while the third follows her point of view. How much of a challenge has that been in your approach to and working with the role of Jodie?
Jodie Comer: There hasn’t been a particularly difficult chapter for me. But the real challenge was that we shot the different versions simultaneously, so we went from the story of Le Gris to that of Carrouges, and so on. So I needed a little time to really focus on what we were doing (laughs)
Nicole Holofcener: “Do I hate my husband there? Or do I love him?” (laughs)
Jodie Comer: Here is ! It was full of contradictions. But we talked to each other a lot, to make sure we got it right.
We wanted the two versions of the assault scene to be similar, but have a few differences, as we are following two separate points of view (Nicole Holofcener)
Tell us about the writing of these three parts Nicole. You specified in the press kit that you were hired for your gaze and your female voice, how did you approach the part centered on Marguerite?
Nicole Holofcener: Thanks to the book [dont le film s’inspire]. And research. Eric Jager’s book is very detailed in regards to Marguerite’s case, so by adding my research and imagination to it, I was able to determine what she would think and the types of things she would do. We wanted her to be competent, maybe even more than her husband. I mostly wrote his part, but we collaborated a lot with Matt and Ben, so much so that it’s hard to pinpoint who exactly did what. I wrote less in their respective parts than in Marguerite’s, but working together was a lot of fun.
By having a second and third part that are quite similar in terms of writing, weren’t you afraid of losing the viewer?
Nicole Holofcener: We wanted the two versions of the assault scene to be similar, but have a few differences, because we’re following two different points of view. But there is no ambiguity: there is indeed the rape of Marguerite. Do we then have to show it once? Twice ? And how long should the scene last? In my opinion, it had to be shown twice, to get the points of view of Le Gris and Marguerite.
Ridley scott : It’s important to show Le Gris’s point of view. Because for him, it’s the same thing. He doesn’t tell the difference.
Jodie Comer: This is particularly what attracted me. There was not to be any change in the dialogues, everything had to go through the acting. So we had conversations before shooting the scenes, because the changes are very nuanced, very light. For me, as an actress, it was a very playful role. It was nice to have that freedom when it came to trying out different variations. But it was confusing at times, too. When you arrive on a project, you know your character’s intentions and motivations, without having to worry about the expectations of others. But there, yes, and it was interesting to do so.