'Last Duel' Nixes First Kiss Between Ben Affleck and Matt Damon

Wednesday October 13, 2021
Originally published on October 12, 2021

Matt Damon in "The Last Duel"
Matt Damon in "The Last Duel"  (Source:IMDb)

In the script for the upcoming "The Last Duel," Matt Damon and Ben Affleck included something unusual — a lips-on kiss between the two actors. In the medieval drama, Damon plays Jean de Carrouges, a French knight during the Hundred Years War who was involved in the last officially sanctioned duel in France's history. Affleck stars as Count Pierre d'Alençon, a French nobleman, who is de Carrouges' rival.

The kiss was included in the script after the pair researched medieval court traditions and learned that a kiss on the lips occurred when noblemen met in council. "In the original actual version of that scene — the way that ceremony actually took place was that you kissed everybody on the mouth," Affleck explained to Entertainment Tonight. "And we had that in the script."

"That would've been our first on screen kiss," Damon added.

"It's going to have to wait," Affleck quipped.

But don't expect the scene in outtakes for the film. Director Ridley Scott cut the scene from the script. "Ridley thought it would be distracting, and his instincts are pretty good," Affleck explained.

Instead Affleck kneels before Damon in a show of respect, despite their mutual animosity. "Yeah the two characters really hate each other and that was really fun," Damon recalled. "In fact, the scene where I kneel before him, Ben just improvised this thing where I started to say my line and he just interrupted me and goes, 'Closer.' And I have to kind of get up and kneel again in front of him. And that was just — he just did that and just kind of blurted that out, and it wasn't in the script."

"The upcoming movie marks their first project together since 1997's 'Good Will Hunting,' which earned them both an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The actors both reflected to People Magazine on their 25-year friendship and their desire to collaborate more during the New York City premiere of 'The Last Duel' on Saturday.

"Over those 25 years, Matt and I have been friends and worked together so it doesn't feel like, 'Oh, I haven't seen this guy in 25 years,'" Affleck explained to ET, noting that the years have flown by. "But it is nice! It's cool to be doing another movie with him."

The pair over the years have sent ambivalent messages on LGBTQ+ issues, especially when rumors persisted that the pair was gay upon the release of "Good Will Hunting."

"When Ben and I first came on the scene, there were rumors that we were gay because it was two guys who wrote a script together," he told the Los Angeles Times in 2015. "I know. It's just like any piece of gossip ... and it put us in a weird position of having to answer, you know what I mean? Which was then really deeply offensive. I don't want to, like, [imply] it's some sort of disease — then it's like I'm throwing my friends under the bus."

In the interview, he also came under fire for comments about gay actors coming out. "I think it must be really hard for actors to be out publicly," he said. "But in terms of actors, I think you're a better actor the less people know about you, period. And sexuality is a huge part of that. Whether you're straight or gay, people shouldn't know anything about your sexuality because that's one of the mysteries that you should be able to play."

Damon also came under fire in August when he acknowledged using a derogatory gay slur with his daughters with a promise of not using it again. "In a case of a preciously-spinned story that seems horribly wrong, Damon admitted that he has used the slur when joking with his daughters up until recently, confessing that he only stopped at the insistence of his daughter, who somehow got through to him that he wasn't talking about a British cigarette," EDGE reported.

"The word that my daughter calls the 'f-slur for a 'homosexual' was commonly used when I was a kid, with a different application," Damon told the London Times. (The story sits behind a firewall.)

"I made a joke, months ago, and got a treatise from my daughter. She left the table. I said, 'Come on, that's a joke! I say it in the movie 'Stuck on You!'" Damon recounts of the moment. "She went to her room and wrote a very long, beautiful treatise on how that word is dangerous. I said, 'I retire the f-slur!' I understood."

"The Last Duel" is in theaters Friday. It co-stars Jody Comer and Adam Driver.