Jodie Comer: Themes of The Last Duel remain very relevant today
Jodie Comer has said the themes of historical epic The Last Duel, about a 14th century noblewoman’s rape and disempowerment, have not gone away and remain “very relevant”.
The Liverpool-born actress, 28, said the cast and crew felt “a real duty of care” when approaching the difficult subject matter.
She plays French noblewoman Marguerite, who alleges she was raped by her husband’s best friend.
Her husband, the knight Jean de Carrouges played by Matt Damon, then challenges the alleged attacker played by Adam Driver to what was the last legally sanctioned duel in France.
The film has been described as a parable about the Me Too movement.
Speaking at the UK premiere in London, Comer told the PA news agency: “From the way I approached the role, I just had to really focus on Marguerite and her experience and make sure it was a truthful representation of what she went through.
“I think the Me Too movement is remarkable and the work that they are doing. But it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind when creating it.
“This story is very relevant because this problem hasn’t gone away. So I think we all definitely felt a real duty of care when approaching the subject matter, for sure.”
She praised director Sir Ridley Scott, saying: “It was incredible. It was such a dream come true to see him work behind the scenes and see the mastermind and how he makes his decisions. It was really fascinating.
“And also he has four or five cameras rolling the entire time, so as an actor you are incredibly spoiled because, especially if you are doing material that is emotional or a bit darker, then you are not spending a lengthy amount of time doing it. It was quite an efficient way of working.”
Ben Affleck, who wrote the screenplay alongside Damon and Nicole Holofcener, stars in a supporting role.
Comer said: “I didn’t know them before but they seemed to get on very, very well. They are both lovely. Both very down to earth gentleman who, along with Nicole, really welcomed me into the conversations around script work and character. They are wonderful to work with.”
The Last Duel was originally set to be released last year before the pandemic upended the Hollywood release calendar.
It is now set for release on October 15.