The upcoming film The Last Duel is one of the most anticipated releases of the fall. The film is directed by Ridley Scott, with a screenplay based on the book The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France by Eric Jager. The screenplay was adapted by Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon.
The plot of the movie is about a 14th-century knight who challenges his squire to a duel after his wife accuses the squire of raping her. Obviously, this is a tricky plot in today's climate. There's a lot of sensitive ideas here and in situations. The movie is told from three different points of view and contains a perspective for each of the people involved in the plot.
When it came time to adapt the book, a decision was made to have different writers take on the different points of view.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck worked on and won an Academy Award for writing Good Will Hunting. But when it came time to tell this story, they understood where they might not have the right point of view. So they only worked on the male characters' points of view. Nicole Holofcener, an Academy Award nominee for writing Can You Ever Forgive Me, worked on the female character's point of view.
Damon told Entertainment Tonight, “It’s a story about perspective... So, there are two knights and then there’s the Lady Marguerite. So Ben and I wrote the male perspectives and Nicole Holofcener wrote the female perspective. That’s kind of the architecture of that movie.”
This is a really interesting way to handle a movie like this. I think you'll certainly be able to tell, since the movie is all about unfolding the plot from three different people. I love how open and honest this process is, as well, giving writers certain characters to focus on and not having crossover to those points of view.
It will be interesting to see this come alive on screen. As far as working more with Affleck, Damon said the duo would probably spend more time doing that in the future.
“Making movies for 30 years, we actually learned something about structure along the way and the process went along a lot faster. And so I think we’ll write a lot more in the future just because it didn’t turn out to be as time-consuming as we thought. It was actually a lot of fun.”
Have you ever written a script where you and someone else tackled points of view? Let us know how it went in the comments.