Jodie Comer interview: ‘The Last Duel’
Jodie Comer plays out of the trickiest parts of the year opposite Matt Damon and Adam Driver in “The Last Duel.” The Emmy-winning actress portrays Marguerite de Carrouges, the real-life noblewoman in 14th century France who went public with her rape, leading to a duel between her husband (Damon) and her rapist (Driver). Before Comer even read the script, she read the book on which the film is based and did research on who Marguerite really was. “I was so moved by her and her courage,” says Comer in an exclusive new interview for Gold Derby. “I felt I had a real duty of care when approaching this story.” Watch the full video chat above.
The story is split up into three sections, each of them focusing on one of the character’s perspectives. Some moments occur in each of the three chapters, with Comer, Driver and Damon adapting their performances depending on whose perspective is being centered. Comer reveals that director Ridley Scott allowed her to make the choices she deemed appropriate for Marguerite in all three sections. “The thing we were always really making sure of was how far we push it,” she adds. “We never wanted the kind of changes to be obvious.”
Comer navigates a number of difficult scenes in the film, including horrific rape and the aftermath, in which she is not believed by her community. What helped the actress tackle the brutality of the rape scene was shooting it from Marguerite’s perspective first. “I felt secure in knowing that we had established the truth, and then I felt free to then figure out where we could go from there,” she explains. Despite the heaviness of the material, Comer was admittedly still surprised by how affected she was by the role. “I came away from that experience being like, ‘Wow, I wasn’t quite aware how deeply we were gonna go there.'”
For fans of “Killing Eve,” “The Last Duel” is a sizable departure from Villanelle, the charismatic assassin she has inhabited for three seasons. Comer observes that when playing Villanelle, it’s all about “making sure that however outrageous the moment is, that it’s always coming from some sense of truth,” as opposed to Marguerite, where “that’s the only place I was coming from.” While it was tough for Comer to wash away Marguerite, she is also doing the same with Villanelle, with “Killing Eve” airing its fourth and final season in 2022. “It’s bittersweet,” she reflects. “We know this is the end, so hopefully we can aim towards something that is really fulfilling for us creating it and also the people watching it.”