At first, I couldn’t see it. “At twenty pages, I was thinking we couldn’t do that,” he says. “These guys are complete savages. They were born in the middle of a hundred-year war, they do nothing more than rape, loot and fight for their entire lives … ”. But then the central story captivated him: It was about two men, one accused of rape by the other’s wife, and the woman at the center of it all. “She, taking a great risk to her reputation and to herself, got up and told the truth, over and over and over again,” says the actor. “It was quite impressive.” He sent the book to Ridley scott, with whom he had wanted to work again since his successful collaboration in The Martian. The director also shared his enthusiasm. And now they needed a script.
One night, Matt had dinner with Ben affleck. For years, the two teenage friends have remained close, in a way that — as each acknowledges — resembles the depiction of two best friends in cartoons of Hollywood. “I don’t want to be friends with him in public, you know what I mean?” Says Damon. “It’s too important a friendship for that, and it goes beyond this race or anything. It’s an important part of my life and it’s not for public consumption like that. “
“I can’t speak for Matt,” he confesses Affleck, “But my sanity and mental health really benefited from having someone I grew up with and knew as a child who was also going through something similar, this journey of more than 20 years being in the public eye, with whom I could reflect on this of Honestly, talking about it, being myself … someone who knew the reason behind our friendship, the reason why he was interested, the reason why we love each other. I often think of people who just become successful and then get caught up in this, and I think, ‘How do they do it without having someone to talk to? Who can they trust? Someone who knew them before? ‘ It has been a great advantage for me, and I believe and hope that for Matt as well, this friendship that we have had. “
The two have remained co-workers from time to time – they share a production company – but after earning their Oscar by Good will huntingThey hadn’t tried to collaborate on another script. To a large extent, this was a reflection of how successful their initial strategy was – fueled by the success of that movie, both of them had long been busy with the kinds of opportunities they could once only have dreamed of. But they also felt that what they had done back then seemed too complicated to repeat.
“The writing process was very time consuming when we did it, when we were 22 and 20 years old,” he says. Matt Damon. “We had no work, we had nothing else to do,” Affleck says. “We had two years to get a draft done and then another, spending time sitting and drinking beer, talking about it, playing video games and acting like we knew something.”
But during that dinner, Matt told Ben about The last duel, and at the end of the meal he loaned her his copy of the book. “He had recently stopped drinking,” Damon recalls. “And when he’s focused, he really sees things clearly. At seven o’clock the next morning, he called me. He’d gone home and read it, and he said, ‘We should write this.