The Last Duel cast on Jodie Comer: ‘Smart, Brave, and Complicated in Her Performance’

Jodie Comer in The Last Duel. Photo by Patrick Redmond/20th Century Studios

Ridley Scott is no stranger to historical action and drama. He helmed Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, and Exodus: Gods and Kings, films that feature epic battles. After some years, the director is returning to the genre with The Last Duel, a film starring Jodie Comer, Matt Damon and Adam Driver. The film is written by Damon, Nicole Holofcener, and Ben Affleck.

The film follows three different points of view, with Damon as Sir Jean de Carrouges, Driver as Jacques Le Gris, and Comer as Marguerite de Carrouges. They each have their own accounts of what happened that day when Jacques was accused of a crime by Marguerite, which results in Jean and Jacques fighting to the death in a duel.

The film’s different perspectives changes as it goes on, and what audiences see in one scene will be different in another. The actors had to perform these scenes again, but with some different dialogue.

“I think the beautiful thing about the script was, it was all there on the page,” Comer said during the global press conference. “The intentions were very, very clear as to what was needed in each perspective. What was sometimes jarring was that we shot each version simultaneously. So, we were literally jumping from one to the next. Then I’m always wanting to make sure that we’ve got Marguerite. I felt really loyal to her and really wanted to make sure that we’d always got that in the bag.”

Matt Damon as Jean de Carrouges and Adam Driver as Jacques LeGris. Photo by Patrick Redmond/20th Century Studios.

Comer was able to play around with other versions of the scenes including the subtlety and how far they could push it. As a central character in the film, Marguerite experiences her own challenges, and Comer was able to give input.

“Jodie actually helped,” Damon said. “We had sessions after work where we would have dinner. We would sit there, and we would go through the script with Jodie. And when you have a great actor, and we did it with Adam too, they’ll say, ‘This moment doesn’t feel right. I don’t feel like I’d say that.’ And as a writer, if you have a great actor, you really want to listen to them. Because they’re going to steer you towards where a scene needs to be. So, she was really helpful in the writing process, too.”

Comer gives a riveting portrayal in The Last Duel, and Affleck would describe her as “smart, and brave, and complicated in her performance.”

“Because she does that so perfectly so that it’s seamless, you don’t get a sense that it’s an exaggerated version of a person,” Affleck said. “It feels like versions of women we’ve seen in movies before. And we wanted to exploit the fact that, historically, people are in many ways, largely accustomed to women being secondary and tertiary characters, so that it would seem out of the ordinary. And she was willing to play that and make the reveal, I think, so much more powerful and elegant, to see the difference between essentially a two-dimensional person, and a fully-realized, three-dimensional human being.”

The Last Duel is now in theaters.

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