the last duel cast

Adam Driver is 35 years old, and he’s already worked with filmmakers like Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, Jim Jarmusch, Terry Gilliam, and the Coen Brothers, just to name a few. And very soon, he may add Sir Ridley Scott to his impressive list of collaborators.

Driver is currently in early talks to join the cast of The Last Duel, Scott’s upcoming period piece that has Matt Damon set to star in one of the lead roles. And while Damon was originally said to be facing off against his old pal Ben Affleck in this movie, it now appears that Driver will be taking the role that was seemingly intended for Affleck, while Affleck himself shifts into a supporting role instead.

Adam Driver is having a heck of a year. He’s earned rave reviews for his work in Scott Z. Burns’ political thriller¬†The Report out of Sundance (that movie is hitting theaters soon) and he’s currently a favorite to win Best Actor at the Oscars for his performance in Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story. Oh, and he also has Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker coming out this year, too. No big deal.

Now Variety reports that Driver is in talks to board The Last Duel, a project that his Silence director Martin Scorsese was once eyeing but one that’s now being helmed by Ridley Scott and written by Affleck, Damon, and Can You Ever Forgive Me? director Nicole Holofcener, based on Eric Jager’s novel. Here’s how Variety describes the film:

Set in 14th century France, the movie is an epic tale of betrayal and justice, told from three distinct points of view: two knights (Damon and Driver) whose bond is tested by treachery and a young woman (Killing Eve‘s Jodie Comer) forced to navigate the brutal and oppressive culture of the era in order to survive.

It’s a bit more fraught than that vague description indicates: Damon, and now Driver, play a knight and a squire who are best friends. When one goes off to war, he returns and accuses the other of raping his wife. No one believes the wife, so the husband appeals to the king, who decrees that the two men should fight to the death. Unfortunately, if the husband loses, the wife will be burned at the stake for her “false accusation.”

According to Deadline’s original report, Affleck was going to play one of the leads, but now Variety throws some shade at that report, revealing that neither the studio nor reps for the actors would ever confirm that was true. Now, they say, insiders confirm that Affleck “will assume a supporting role instead due to scheduling conflicts with New Regency’s Deep Water, which he had already signed on to.” While it may have been interesting to see Affleck and Damon in lead roles again, it might be a good idea that Affleck’s stepping aside in this one, given his history and this movie’s fraught subject matter.

The Last Duel hasn’t technically been given a greenlight yet, but if it receives one, filming is evidently going to begin early next year.

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