Authenticity is hard to achieve in a historical fantasy; after all, how can anyone know what it was really like in a fictional past? But one thing the cast of Netflix series Cursed could get right is the fighting.
Stars Katherine Langford (Nimue) and Devon Terrell (Arthur) have described the lengths they went to to make their fighting look realistic in the 10-part Arthurian fantasy drama, as evidenced in their brutal play fight with its “let’s get to know each other” head-butt in episode one.
Terrell, who plays Arthur, told The Hollywood Reporter: “[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. 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.'”
Langford, who was a nationally ranked swimmer at high school in her home country Australia, said: “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.”
The twist of Cursed is that the story puts a woman, Nimue, at the centre of the male-centric Arthurian myth and, of course, the legend goes that the Lady in the Lake produced Excalibur from the water, so it’s little surprise that Langford had to tool up and get sword-handy for the role based on the graphic novel created by Tom Wheeler and Frank Miller.
The core Cursed cast endured a bootcamp that started with horse riding and sword fighting before production began and continued for almost a year on set, leaving them totally immersed in their roles.
“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.
Daniel Sharman, who plays the mysterious Weeping Monk, really drilled down to try and achieve his character. “I took ballet classes, I took foraging classes on how to live out in the wild in Scotland. 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.”