Netflix’s new fantasy series Cursed, based on the graphic novel of the same name written by Thomas Wheeler and illustrated by Frank Miller, is a reimagining of an Arthurian legend with a strong female character at the forefront.
Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why) leads the cast as Nimue, a teenager with special powers who is destined to become the fabled Lady of the Lake.
Stars Langford, Devon Terrell, Daniel Sharman, Gustaf Skarsgard and Shalom Brune-Franklin spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the greater message behind their magical show and how they prepared to shoot season one of the epic drama series.
“[We were] learning fight training in terms of boxing, how to hold yourself as a person, how to hold a sword, where to put your hands,” said Terrell, who plays Arthur. “It was one of those things where you just didn’t want it to look stupid on screen where people were like, ‘You look like you can’t fight.'”
“This role was really interesting and different in the sense that it required me to use my body in a way that I haven’t had to before in other roles, but as a former athlete it was something I was really excited about,” said Langford.
The cast revealed they went through a “bootcamp” of sorts that included lessons on everything from sword fighting to horseback riding for several weeks before shooting began, but the training didn’t stop there.
“It was constant work over 10 months and I think by the end of it you’re like, ‘I feel comfortable just being authentic in the character,'” said Terrell.
Sharman, who plays the mysterious Weeping Monk, took his preparation a step further.
“I took ballet classes, I took forging classes on how to live out in the wild in Scotland,” said Sharman. “I worked with a movement teacher on getting the Weeping Monk’s expression to be the thing that was most important to him. So, a lot of work on that.”
While this series is set in a mystical and magical world, the subject matter couldn’t feel more relevant. The show’s stars opened up about the important messages behind their fantastical series.
“It discusses a lot about demonization of other and, ‘Why do you think that?'” said Terrell. “Even playing a person of color in the role of Arthur. If you do have a problem with that, why is it? It’s a myth. It’s a legend. There’s a magical sword.”
“I think there are a lot of messages that you can take from the show, but we definitely address within this story and within this world senseless war and oppression of minorities,” said Langford. “You really see the theme of justice and having to really find your courage.”
“I hope it raises certain questions around the legitimacy of power,” said Skarsgard, who portrays Merlin. “But then it also highlights other themes as well: the obliteration of the natural world, persecution of minorities and indigenous people. There’s a lot at play.”
According to Langford, when she signed on to the show, it was supposed to be a six-month shoot. However, just five before she was set to head to the U.K. to film the series, it was changed to a 10 month shoot. The cast opened up about what it was like being immersed in this whimsical world for so long while filming the 10-episode first season.
“It was grueling,” said Terrell. “It was an amazing physical, emotional and mental journey, because one day you’re in a battle scene with 100-plus people and the next day you’re crying to your queen. It was a constant juggle of emotions.”
“It really made it hard to like to step out of it,” said Brune-Franklin. “You know, when you’re on the top of a mountain in North Wales riding this horse through mist, and then you’re back in your hometown having dinner with your grandparents trying to explain everything, it was such a trip out the whole time filming.”
“I hadn’t been back to England in a long time,” revealed Sharman. “There was something kind of magical about that and especially for me returning home and seeing parts of England that I’d never seen, and I thought I’d seen all of it.”
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