Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are eyeing to star in director Ridley Scott's The Last Duel. The two childhood friends had their big break together when they won Oscars for 1997's Good Will Hunting. In the decades since, both have carved out successful careers for themselves, appearing in a wide variety of projects ranging from dramas (Argo), action movies (the Bourne franchise), and superhero films (Batman V Superman). And despite their inseparable bond, Damon and Affleck have not collaborated on a new film since Good Will Hunting all those years ago.
That wasn't for lack of trying. Back in 2013, the pair wanted to make a Whitey Bulger biopic, with Affleck directing and Damon starring as the notorious Boston mobster. Unfortunately, that project fell by the wayside when Warner Bros. opted to go with Scott Cooper's Whitey Bulger film Black Mass (starring Johnny Depp). They then attempted to adapt the infamous McDonald's Monopoly scam story to film, but there's been no word on that since last summer. Now, they may have finally found something.
According to Deadline, Damon and Affleck may star in The Last Duel, with Scott directing. The film, based on Eric Jager's novel, is a 14th century revenge tale following two friends who battle each other in France's last legal duel. In addition to portraying the two friends at the story's center, Affleck and Damon would co-write the script with Nicole Holofcener (Can You Ever Forgive Me?). Scott, keeping ever busy in his elder years, would be willing to delay Merlin to make The Last Duel his next picture.
The Last Duel was set up at 20th Century Fox well before the studio was acquired by Disney. In the wake of that industry-shaking transaction, the Mouse House has been leaving their mark on Fox's film slate, canceling projects and shutting down studio divisions for various reasons. It remains to be seen if Disney will move forward with The Last Duel. The subject matter is a far cry from their typical fare, as the story revolves around one of the men accusing the other of raping his wife while he is away at war. To be fair, Fox is continuing to release films geared towards an older audience under the Disney umbrella (Ad Astra, Ford v. Ferrari, etc.), so it's possible The Last Duel remains at the studio. Scott has a fruitful history with Fox, with the Alien franchise and The Martian as notable examples. That may play into the final decision.
Regardless of where The Last Duel ends up, it certainly has the potential to be something special. Historical epics are one of Scott's specialities as director, so he would be right in his wheelhouse with this kind of material. Plus, Damon and Affleck reuniting onscreen is a monumental occasion in it of itself, adding a layer of interest to The Last Duel. Their real-life friendship would arguably work to enhance their performances, making the story's tragic turns all the more heartbreaking. Hopefully, The Last Duel is able to move ahead quickly.