Longtime friends and collaborators Ben Affleck and Matt Damon nearly shared their “first onscreen kiss” in Ridley Scott’s historical drama The Last Duel. However, due to a last minute change on Scott’s end, a respectful kneel replaced the would-be kiss.
The Good Will Hunting duo co-wrote (only the men’s parts) and star in the film alongside Jodie Comer and Adam Driver. Damon stars as Jean de Carrouges, French knight and husband to Marguerite de Carrouges (Comer), whose honor and life is on the line after she accuses Jacques Le Gris (Driver) of rape. Affleck stars as Count Pierre d’Alençon, a French nobleman and friend of Le Gris.
Now, the 14th century-set film which focuses on the final legally sanctioned duel in France was, unsurprisingly, not going to feature a make-out scene between the two. Instead, it would have been a welcoming kiss as a part of a ceremony.
“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 in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. “And we had that in the script.”
“That would’ve been our first onscreen kiss,” Damon quipped.
“It’s going to have to wait,” Affleck responded, playing along.
Instead, Scott changed up the scene before filming even started to have Carrouges kneel before d’Alençon upon entering his home. The legendary director figured the kiss would overshadow the unfolding conflict.
“Ridley thought it would be distracting, and his instincts are pretty good,” Affleck said.
Do not fret, from Damon’s description of the scene it seems like there will still be plenty of tension and palpable chemistry between the two enemies in the film.
“Yeah the two characters really hate each other and that was really fun,” Damon said. “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 Last Duel premieres in theaters October 15.