Devon Terrell stars as the one and only Arthur in Netflix’s new series ‘Cursed.’ The actor spoke with HL about Arthur’s journey, Arthur’s relationship with Nimue, and more.
The Arthurian legend we all know and love is getting a twist. Cursed premieres July 17 and follows Nimue (Katherine Langford), a teenage heroine with a mysterious gift who is destined to become the powerful Lady of the Lake. Devon Terrell stars as Arthur (yes, that one), who crosses paths with Nimue as she sets out to find Merlin and give him an ancient sword. Devon revealed in an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife about what to expect from this version of Arthur.
“He’s a young mercenary who I feel like has a lot of burdens,” Devon told HollywoodLife during the Cursed virtual junket. “He’s holding a lot, but he’s not showing it. He’s showing it through a smile. He’s just trying to get by, which is kind of a really cool take on it. He doesn’t have purpose in his life. He doesn’t expect anything. No one expects anything of him. He feels that and he knows that. But he’s waiting for an opportunity to shine and he, at points, uses Nimue to try to shine but then realizes he actually gains more by being selfless and helping her through her journey.”
The show takes place before Arthur is king and wields Excalibur. Arthur’s journey collides with Nimue’s, and that’s really when the story takes off. “What’s wonderful about the character is he discovers so much about himself through Nimue’s story,” Devon continued. “He starts becoming more and meeting the challenge of that rather than the way we expect Arthur to come up. For myself, when watching it, I forgot that this guy was going to become king at some point. You really forget that quickly. He’s just a young man who’s an everyday person.”
The trailer shows a passionate kiss between Arthur and Nimue. Devon teased the relationship between these two iconic characters. “It’s explosive and complicated,” Devon said. “At points, it’s an overwhelming passion of love for each other, and then it kind of splits because they have to realize that they have to save people’s lives and they have a lot of pressure to succeed. If Nimue fails, her people will be eradicated. The stakes are always so high because there’s no moment for them really to indulge in their love, which young people hope they get the chance to. They’re young people who have to grow up very quickly.”
With Cursed, Devon becomes the first Black actor to play the legendary character of Arthur. For Devon, he was proud to be a part of how Cursed modernized the Arthurian legends by being more inclusive.
“What was wonderful about it was when I was going through the audition process, they always said that they were trying to find the best actor. Race isn’t included. So I never felt this sense of tokenism of, oh, they’re going to pick me because I’m the diverse choice. It was one of those things where I felt like I earned the role when I was auditioning. The more I did research, the more I was like, this man’s a myth. He’s a legend. Some people compared him to a bear or a lion. They didn’t really know what he was, the story just kept evolving. I felt instantly that if you can believe in a magical sword, then we can believe that a person of color can play that role. Even with Nimue, too. She’s a badass warrior who has these magical powers. So if we can believe in that character, we should be able to believe that the person next to her can play the role that they’re playing. It’s exciting. Some people have asked me if I’m scared about backlash, and I’m not scared of backlash at all because it’s going to bring twice as big of an audience in than it’s going to take out. So many people have been waiting for this opportunity to see another badass female protagonist in a superhero-y kind of role and now a person of color as Arthur. Now we’re going to see kids in Comic-Cons that have a hero to look up to. I never had that growing up in Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, someone who was integral to the story.”