“The Last Duel” is one of the cinematographic events of this fall. The film mostly sounds like the on-screen reunion of Hollywood’s two best friends: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. A reunion that could have ended in a kiss between the two men. However, Ridley Scott decided otherwise.
The Last Duel : Ridley Scott back
At 83 years old, Ridley Scott does not seem ready to want to end the cinema. Evidenced by the release of the film The Last Duel, the review of which can be found here. A remarkable longevity, for a director who has more than 50 years of career behind him. Indeed, this drawing enthusiast began his career in the 1960s, when he was hired by the BBC to direct several episodes of popular British series. The director however left the channel in 1968, and founded his own production house. Ridley Scott Associates. Scott is very ambitious and wants to be able to make bigger productions.
So in 1977, he was revealed by his first feature film titled The Duelists. A film that is already taking place in the history of France, just like it will be 44 years later The Last Duel. His first work is above all his first major critical success, at the same time winning the first work prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Subsequently, Ridley Scott continues with films today hailed by almost all (Alien, Gladiator, Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise).
Despite the ages that have passed, Ridley Scott has always been present. And although in recent years he has “strayed” a bit (Robin Hood, Prometheus, Cartel, Exodus, Alien Covenant), he is still there as a director and / or producer. The Last Duel is here to prove it. As a reminder, the film looks back on one of the most famous legal fights in French history. For the occasion, Ridley Scott surrounds himself with a rich cast with Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Corner and Ben Affleck.
Back in writing and behind the camera, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have been very invested in The Last Duel. Viewers could even have seen the two friends exchanging their first kiss onscreen. Indeed, a sequence provided that the count Pierre d’Alençon (Ben Affleck) and Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) kiss full on the lips during a ceremony. However, Ridley Scott ultimately decided otherwise and cut the editing scene. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the two actors returned to this case. And according to Affleck, the filmmaker had a good reason for doing so:
In the initial version of this scene, the way the ceremony went that we had to kiss each other on the mouth. It was in the script! (…) Ridley thought it might have distracted the audience. And his instinct was pretty good.
Matt Damon added, however, that changing this scene did, however, allow the actors to improvise afterwards:
Yes, the two characters really hate each other and it was a lot of fun. The scene where I kneel in front of him, Ben improvised this thing where I started to say my line and he just interrupted me by saying “Closer”. And I had to sort of get up and kneel down in front of him again. It was an improvisation, because it was not in the script.
Kiss or not, The Last Duel is in any case in French theaters since October 13, 2021.