From “Killing Eve” to the Middle Ages: Jodie Comer is a lady who decides not to shut up in “The Last Duel”

Nicolas Biederman-Télam

British actress Jodie Comer, who after her multi-award winning role in the series Killing Eve takes the central female role of The last duel, the Ridley Scott film that is known this Thursday in the cinemas of Rosario in which she plays a medieval lady who decides not to silence a violation despite the danger it poses to her life, said that these types of films are important because “they maintain the conversation in motion ”.

“It’s a tough movie, watching it is uncomfortable, but I don’t think that means that we should avoid telling these stories. I hope it makes us all think more deeply about our own life experiences, how we act and what we learned from what we lived, or that it allows us to question our own actions, “said the actress.

The film tells the true story of the last trial by combat in the history of France, in the 14th century, when two nobles, Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) and Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) defined by the sword and in front of the Court Real in its entirety the complaint of the wife of the first, Lady Marguerite (Comer), who accused the second of having raped her.

The film’s stellar cast is joined by Ben Affleck, who in addition to portraying Duke Pierre d’Alençon, whose right-hand man Le Gris was, was in charge of co-writing the script with his great friend Matt Damon and New York writer and director Nicole Holofcener. .

The project, the first that Damon and Affleck have written together since the consecration In search of destiny of 1997, with which they entered very young through the great door of Hollywood (Oscar award included) is based on the research book of the American literary critic Eric Jager, and proposes a story that dialogues with the urgent current debate on sexist violence, sexual abuse and consent.

“I hope it triggers personal conversations and on a broader scale,” Comer said, in a talk with the news agency Telam and other regional media in which Nicole Holofcener also spoke.

“From the beginning, Matt and Ben knew, because they started and I came in later, that they didn’t want to make a movie about a typical rapist villain. It has more layers and nuances depending on how it is seen ”, the screenwriter recalled, in relation to how the three faced the portrait of a fact that from the late 1300s to the present had left the claim of Lady Marguerite in the background.

Even until the publication of Jager’s book in 2004, the role of women in the episode had been covered in a cloak of alleged double intentions. Specifically, it was suspected that Marguerite had lied to harm Le Gris, formerly a friend but by then declared an enemy of Carrouges.

For this reason, Damon, Affleck and Holofcener presented the film as a story divided into three parts, respectively from the perspective of the husband, the rapist and the victim.

“I think it was clear that finding the right balance in writing the part of Le Gris was definitely the most difficult thing, because he has such a skewed gaze, is so obtuse and egomaniacal, that we went to great lengths to get people to believe that this guy really he never thought he had raped anyone, “the scriptwriter added.

In the film, therefore, the viewer attends the same scenes more than once, only with tiny changes that operate gigantic shifts of meaning depending on who the optician is: “It was a challenge to be able to create a narrative arc that made sense. and that the different sections were sufficiently different but at the same time similar. The actors did a great job portraying the little nuances of the plot. “

At a time when women could not speak if they were not addressed, Comer stands out by composing a character supported by subtleties. Her non-verbal communication, the way she stands, moves, and looks or not into other people’s eyes presented the Liverpool-born actress with an interesting challenge.

“It really was about understanding how little action I had at that time. How she needed to always be around her husband, and how, when he was traveling, she enjoyed her freedom and being able to have more whatever she wanted, ”shared the actress recognized for her role as the sadistic and charming serial killer Villanelle de Killing Eve, about his approach to this work.

“I wanted to make sure it had a personality,” he added. In period films, as women have to present themselves in a certain way, the performance can become very rigid for fear of moving out of the box it has to occupy ”.

One of the sequences that is repeated but in different perspectives is the one in which Le Gris sexually assaults Lady Marguerite during Sir de Carrouges’ trip to Paris, which had left her unprotected in the castle.

“We shot the Marguerite scene first, which is what I asked Ridley. And I think it was definitely the right decision. Once we established what we wanted to do with that scene, then we were able to figure out how to make my character complacent for the other sequence, using the same dialogue, ”Comer recalled.

“It was a very safe set,” he said. when we finished each take everyone left the room giving us five minutes to calm down, think about what we had done, see if we had to do something different. I don’t know if it was something that made me think at the moment, but when I saw the film I was very happy with the way we portrayed that moment ”.

Finally, the actress appreciated the role that these types of films and art in general play in keeping the conversation moving, on certain topics: “I felt very empowered by Marguerite, and I think that people can take that resilience when they see her, that willingness to fight for what is right in any aspect of life ”.

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