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goodwill hunting Matt Damon's a Bourne and bred Dubliner after Hollywood superstar's Irish lockdown love-in

Actor recalls 'magical' time he spent in Ireland while filming The Last Duel

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Matt Damon says he knows everybody in the Dublin coastal village of Dalkey

Matt Damon says he knows everybody in the Dublin coastal village of Dalkey

Matt Damon says he knows everybody in the Dublin coastal village of Dalkey

Movie star Matt Damon has joked that he now "knows everybody" in the Dublin town where his family spent lockdown.

Damon also revealed that they learned production of period epic The Last Duel was to shut down on the very same day he and his co-stars arrived in Ireland.

Instead of heading for home like other cast, Damon, his wife and kids had a family vote on their next move - and decided to stay put.

At a press conference for the movie last night, he said it was the best decision he could have made.

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Matt damon in Dalkey with his now-famous SuperValu bag

Matt damon in Dalkey with his now-famous SuperValu bag

Matt damon in Dalkey with his now-famous SuperValu bag

"We had the best time," he said. "Our movie shut down because of Covid the day we got to Ireland and so we stayed. We had the choice to go home to America or stay there. We'd never spent any real time there. And we decided as a family, we took a family vote and we decided to stay and it was amazing.

"All these guys had rented these beautiful houses for like three months that they abandoned because they all went back to their homes.

"So we took them all over, we turned one into a school for our kids, it was great. We were free-rolling in this beautiful town in Ireland for three months, and the community there kind of absorbed us in a really beautiful way."

When the film's co-writer Nicole Holofcener joked: "And now your picture's in every restaurant', Damon laughed and replied: "That's because I know everybody there!"

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Matt Damon as Jean de Carrouges in his new movie The Last Duel

Matt Damon as Jean de Carrouges in his new movie The Last Duel

Matt Damon as Jean de Carrouges in his new movie The Last Duel

Residents of the seaside suburb of Dalkey in south Co. Dublin were notoriously protective of their a-list resident, even scolding curious reporters who enquired about his whereabouts.

And when the actor was photographed sporting a hoodie and carrying a SuperValu bag, the photo went viral as social media speculated about the contents. A bag of cans for a trip to the seaside was the most popular option, but Damon has since said it contained towels for his family's swim.

At the press conference for the Ridley Scott epic, set in 14th-century France, Damon's friend, co-star and co-writer Ben Affleck was also full of praise for his experience of filming here. The cast and crew resumed filming last September under strict Covid guidelines.

"It was wonderful and beautiful," said Affleck. "People were lovely and it was mitigated only by the fact that it was during the pandemic and that's just an added hurdle. But Ireland itself was a magical, lovely place and like many people from Boston, I grew up hearing that I was Irish even though I'd never been to Ireland! It's an incredible place, the crew was extraordinary."

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Jodie Comer in The Last Duel

Jodie Comer in The Last Duel

Jodie Comer in The Last Duel

The Last Duel, based on real events during France's One Hundred Years war with England, also stars Adam Driver and Killing Eve star Jodie Comer. She plays Margeurite de Carrouges, a French noblewoman married to the knight Jean de Carrouges (Damon). When she claims she was raped by Jacques Le Gris (Driver), her husband challenges him to a dual to the death. The dual was the last one legally sanctioned in French history.

Damon told how Ridley Scott and his crew faithfully recreated the violent duel itself, which was shot in Ballycurry Demesne in the Co. Wicklow town of Ashford.

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"In the book we adapted he (literary historian Eric Jager) really meticulously explained the duel and exactly how it happened. Because it was recorded in history, it was a very famous thing.

"Ridley kept the bones of the duel as the duel did happen. Three joust passes, they came off their horses, they went to axes, swords and then daggers - that all is true.

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Adam Driver as Jacques LeGris and Matt Damon as Jean de Carrouges in The Last Duel

Adam Driver as Jacques LeGris and Matt Damon as Jean de Carrouges in The Last Duel

Adam Driver as Jacques LeGris and Matt Damon as Jean de Carrouges in The Last Duel

"They kept the spirit of the duel and exactly what really happened. The same person won in history who won in our movie in the same way. All the dialogue is from the actual reported events."

Meanwhile, Jodie Comer told how Ireland fell in with her co-star Damon during lockdown, with chat-show host Graham Norton joking there were more sightings of him than the Loch Ness monster.

The Killing Eve star revealed that production on the period epic was shut down just after she, Damon and the movie's other stars landed in Dublin for filming.

"We were filming in France and then they flew us to Ireland. We got stepped down when we got there and we were stepped down for five, six months."

Comer spent the early days of lockdown in Dublin but dashed home to Liverpool after the UK government warned of travel restrictions.

The movie, directed by Scott, whose work includes Gladiator, opens in cinemas next Friday.

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