Nobody understands a gruesome, grizzly historical epic quite like Ridley Scott. The veteran filmmaker leaves no stone unturned when it comes to making epic cinema made for the big screen – full of blood and guts, of course, but also fearless social commentary about life as it was way back when, and how we might relate to that now.
Speaking to Empire about his forthcoming 14th-century drama The Last Duel, which deals with a patriarchal world trying to control a woman’s body, Scott nods to the “social disorder” which remains today. “We don’t learn a fucking thing from history,” he says. We think we correct it, and we don’t correct it. We keep repeating what we’ve just done. So on the level of social disorder between male and female, you’re witnessing at those particular times the masculine attitude towards the female, and it’s not that far apart from where we are today.”
The film was written by Nicole Holofcener (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Ben Affleck and Matt Damon – hopefully on a slightly calmer day than in the above picture. It took Scott some convincing from Damon in particular, namely in the form of some visualisations of those brutal battle scenes pictured here.
When he started to talk, I started to see it,” Scott says of Damon’s mental image of battles, blood, mud and more. “When I see it, I know I’m in serious trouble and I’m very liable to do it,” the filmmaker adds. Historically, serious trouble for Scott results in serious good news for us – there’s plenty more carnage where this came from.
To read about Ridley Scott’s work on The Last Duel, House Of Gucci and his broader, unstoppable career to date, pick up a copy of 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.