Ben Affleck and Matt Damon reveal their 'first on-screen kiss' was cut from The Last Duel
Bennifer almost had serious competition from Mattfleck.
Longtime friends and professional collaborators Ben Affleck and Matt Damon revealed that, after nearly three decades of working together in Hollywood, the pair nearly shared their first on-screen kiss in director Ridley Scott's new movie The Last Duel.
"In the original actual version of that scene — the way that ceremony actually took place was that you kissed everybody on the mouth," Affleck recently told Entertainment Tonight of a portion of the Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting duo's 14th-century period script (co-written with Nicole Holofcener) that initially saw Damon's Jean de Carrouges greet Affleck's nobleman, Count Pierre d'Alençon, with the historically rooted gesture.
"That would've been our first on-screen kiss," Damon, 51, added, while Affleck, 49, promised: "It's going to have to wait." (Representatives for Disney/20th Century Studios didn't immediately respond to EW's request for confirmation on the deleted scene.)
Affleck noted that "Ridley thought it would be distracting, and his instincts are pretty good," so the scene was removed before cameras rolled, but there was still a palpable creative dynamic between the actors that lent itself to improvisation.
"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."
Damon also joked that, since Affleck transitioned to directing successful Academy Award-winning films like Argo, he actually has "to kneel before him" when they see each other. "That's actually how I have to get in his house," he said.
News of the reported same-sex kiss landed after Damon came under fire from the LGBTQIA+ community over the summer, when a Sunday Times interview featured the actor discussing a joke involving a homophobic slur.
"The word that my daughter calls the 'f-slur for a homosexual' was commonly used when I was a kid, with a different application. 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!'" he said. He later released a statement clarifying his comments.
"During a recent interview, I recalled a discussion I had with my daughter where I attempted to contextualize for her the progress that has been made — though by no means completed — since I was growing up in Boston and, as a child, heard the word 'f--' used on the street before I knew what it even referred to," Damon said in the statement. "I explained that that word was used constantly and casually and was even a line of dialogue in a movie of mine as recently as 2003; she in turn expressed incredulity that there could ever have been a time where that word was used unthinkingly. To my admiration and pride, she was extremely articulate about the extent to which that word would have been painful to someone in the LGBTQ+ community regardless of how culturally normalized it was. I not only agreed with her but thrilled at her passion, values and desire for social justice."
The Last Duel — which premiered to decent reviews at the Venice International Film Festival — follows the story of Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer), who accused Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) of raping her in an act that leads to the last sanctioned duel in French history — a fight to the death Affleck's character mandates between Le Gris and Damon's Jean, Marguerite's husband.
"Matt's one of the few people I really trust and believe has my best interests at heart and gives good feedback," Affleck previously told EW of re-teaming with Damon to write The Last Duel. "We've often talked about movies and collaborated in that way."
The Last Duel hits theaters on Friday.
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Inspired by a true story, Marguerite de Carrouges precipitates the last sanctioned duel fought on French soil when she accuses her Jacques Le Gris of raping her.