How Nicole Holofcener Brought Her Indie Sensibility to The Last Duel

You don’t must look too intently to identify Nicole Holofcener’s affect on The Final Duel, as unbelievable as which will appear. When she first got here aboard the Ridley Scott–directed motion movie (in theaters Friday) as each producer and cowriter, it appeared like an odd match: Right here was a lauded indie filmmaker, identified for writing and directing biting slices of life similar to Pretty & Wonderful and Sufficient Stated, being requested to ascertain an enormous studio sword-fight film, one starring and cowritten by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

However Holofcener’s contribution to The Final Duel is specific, important, and becoming. The movie is split into three chapters, every ruled by the viewpoint of a particular character: Jean (Damon), a knight; his spouse, Marguerite (Jodie Comer); and his pal Jacques (Adam Driver), a squire. The story examines their competing views over Marguerite’s allegation that Jacques raped her whereas Jean was away—a declare that results in the 2 males’s combat to the dying, the final judicially acknowledged duel ever fought in France. 

Holofcener, Damon, and Affleck tailored Eric Jager’s 2004 nonfiction e-book of the identical title. In taking up Marguerite’s story, the ultimate and longest part of the movie, Holofcener discovered that her heroine had been largely misplaced to historical past, as many ladies of her time had been—a footnote, a plot level, a tragedy. The author used this as motivation: to plot an entire character, within the vein of the ladies who so vibrantly come to life in her different movies, full with a prickly character and distinctive voice. It’s an method that not solely provides intriguing nuance to this macho sort of movie, but additionally complicates the complete nature of it: After 90 minutes or so of watching males’s views on Marguerite, we see her personal story play out as a sort of corrective.

Lately Oscar-nominated for cowriting Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Holofcener tells Vainness Honest that adapting The Final Duel each challenged and excited her, and she or he’s come away pleased with the work she and her collaborators did on the movie. With this profession departure, she’s able to wade into extra uncharted territory too. 

Vainness Honest: I’ve been a fan of your work for a very long time. Once I noticed your title hooked up to The Final Duel, I assumed, Effectively, it is a very completely different sort of venture.

Nicole Holofcener: No kidding. [Laughs] Wouldn’t it’s humorous if I inserted all my indie characters and indie dialogue into the film?

I’d not complain. So what did you discover you had been getting your self into? I’m broadly acquainted with the e-book, and also you approached the fabric fairly innovatively. 

Matt and Ben had already outlined the e-book to be in three components: one man, one other man, and one lady. They requested me if I might collaborate with them and write the Jodie Comer half, which I did. After which after, I’d ship them pages and say, “Is that this all proper? Does this language sound in any respect medieval?” They usually mentioned, “Yeah, as a lot as ours does.”

Did you get into the e-book? I’m interested in the way you labored off of it to inform this particular point-of-view story.

It was a tough learn due to the subject material. I did a number of analysis, discovering out what girls at the moment did or would possibly’ve thought, or simply how horrible their lives had been—actually having no company or management over their lives. Primarily, they had been their husband’s property. I turned very invested in giving Marguerite de Carrouges a voice and a character, three-dimensional qualities based mostly on what I might glean from that point interval and from details about her—which was not loads, belief me. So what a difficult half to jot down. I beloved it. It was utterly out of my wheelhouse, however I loved the problem. And apart from: Individuals are folks, then and now, in the end. I like writing about folks.

© twentieth Century Studios/Everett Assortment.

Are you able to speak about a few of these belongings you did carry out within the character that, perhaps, had been a bit more durable to seek out, or one thing we wouldn’t count on from a lady of that point interval? | How Nicole Holofcener Introduced Her Indie Sensibility to The Final Duel


TaraSubramaniam is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. TaraSubramaniam joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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