November 30, 2021

how a historian from Saône-et-Loire came to advise Ridley Scott for his latest film

Ridley Scott’s medieval film, titled The Last Duel, was released in theaters on October 13. The story may seem incredible, but a young Burgundian, Lorris Chevalier, medieval historian, advised the production of the film.

When he meets director Ridley Scott for the first time, Lorris Chevalier does not yet know that this meeting will be decisive. We are in 2019 and the young man is pursuing a doctorate in medieval history at the faculty of Dijon (devoted to chivalrous ethics). At 26, to finance his studies, he was also responsible for tourist development at the Château de Berzé, in Saône-et-Loire. It is there that he will meet the director of the cult films “Alien” and “Blade runner”, who came in scouting with his team, for the preparation of his new blockbuster, a period film with Matt Damon and Adam Driver.

Loris Chevallier presents the places to the filmmaker and they sympathize during the visit. Some time later, to his great surprise, he is called back by the production which announces to him that “his” castle has been chosen as the setting, for some key scenes in the film. He was also asked to write several historical files. The development manager becomes a librarian.

I said that I needed a month for the file and I was told that it was for the next morning.

Lorris Chevalier

Closer to Ridley Scott and the cast

In March 2020, the film crew moved to Saône-et-Loire for a week. Lorris Chevalier will, he says, stay permanently on the set and according to him, between takes, Ridley Scott does not hesitate to ask him: “I always stayed next to him, to answer his questions. I was also asked about everything that is liturgical, such as the way in which the priest should consider himself to be such or such a sacrament. I was also able to help with the pronunciation of Latin. I myself am Catholic and I go to mass in Latin, so I am familiar with this language, which was obviously identical in the 14th century ”.

He even said that the actors came to see him: “Especially Matt Damon, who asked me a lot of questions, especially about medieval devotion and piety, to better fit into his character”.

Lorris Chevalier says he then accompanied the team to other filming locations, in France and abroad: “We went to Ireland as a family for almost two months. In total, I worked for eight months on this film “.

The story of the young doctoral student will take a completely unexpected turn when, he explains, he is asked to pass in front of the camera.

Appearing on the film

Lorris Chevalier also relates that in the evening he sang medieval songs with the extras. “I’m a bad singer, but the only one who knew the songs”, he recalls, amused. This will lead him to become … appearing on the film: “I was asked to sing medieval songs from the 14th century twice and both takes were kept”.

He discovered the film in preview, during a screening in Dijon and he loved it.

Amazed by the performances of the actors, he also says he is proud of his work. He took pleasure in spotting in the scenes of the film, props that he proposed: “I looked at all the objects that I had put.”

Today, Lorris Chavalier has dropped his doctorate. While waiting, perhaps, to work again for the cinema, he decided to open in his city, Tournus, a shop of monastic products.