Ridley Scott continues to burn a relentless path through the film industry with not one, but two films out at the tail end of 2021. First up is historical drama The Last Duel, which hits cinemas in October, followed by House Of Gucci, is a scorching tale of family, violence and deceit told amidst the opulent world of high fashion.
Adam Driver links both films, playing real-life knight Jacques Le Gris in The Last Duel and Maurizio Gucci in House Of Gucci – but also noteworthy in the first film are Matt Damon’s fellow knight Jean De Carrouges and his wife, Jodie Comer’s Marguerite De Carrouges, who accuses Le Gris of raping her while her husband is away on duty. Scott is no stranger to compelling female characters (and he brought Can You Ever Forgive Me? screenwriter Nicole Holofcener on board for this script to dig even deeper), but The Last Duel nods to the person who started it all off for him more than ever.
Speaking with Empire as part of the new Ghostbusters Celebration issue, Scott reveals his inspiration for Comer’s character, and by extension all the female characters in his body of work. “I think it boils down to a woman in my life who was 4’ 11”. My mother,” he says. “She was the boss, without fucking question. She would drive us relentlessly. We virtually saluted every morning.”
Scott has received some fallout online over the predominantly male filmmakers who have come together to tell this particularly gendered story, in spite of the director turning in female-led films like Thelma & Louise and Alien. “They’ve got to look at my bio,” the filmmaker says. “The most powerful pro-woman film that I made was G.I. Jane. People forget that for some reason.”
Scott will work with Comer again on Kitbag, a historical biopic of Napoleon Bonaparte with Joaquin Phoenix signed on to play the French emperor. Until then, you can read about his work on The Last Duel, House Of Gucci and his broader, unwavering career at large, in Empire’s Ghostbusters Celebration issue – on newsstands from Thursday 30 September, and available to pre-order online here. The Last Duel will be in UK and US cinemas on 15 October.