With Cursed finally out on Netflix, audiences all over the world are getting invested in the newest fantasy series as it gives a whole new light on the classic tale of King Arthur. Director Zetna Fuentes has had a history of helming episodes for both network and cable television on some of the network’s top shows like Scandal, Jessica Jones, and Jane the Virgin to name a few. She directed the first two episodes of Cursed, which helped introduce us to our heroine Nimue, a brave young teen who gains the power of Excalibur and leads a fight for her people as destiny shapes her into a legend. We got to sit down with the director to chat about working on the new series.
Once she was offered the script for Cursed, the book was still being written by creators Tom Wheeler and prolific comic book legend Frank Miller. Fuentes was given the script by Wheeler’s brother Bill, someone with whom she’s worked with previously on an episode of Ray Donovan. “I got sent this script through Bill Wheeler and told me he was involved and what it was about.” Despite not being familiar with the book, she was interested in the story. “I read it and just really wanted to do it and then fought to get the job,” she said.
Fuentes has mostly worked in drama, which she is a fan of. However, her interest in the fantasy genre captivated her to take on this project. “In the fantasy space, there has been so many amazing things that I was remembering the other day talking to my son about going to the movies to watch all the Lord of the Rings with my brother. That was really fun sitting there and being transported and watching that.” She sees the many different factors that went into the script that she was working with in order to bring the fantasy to life. “I was recently saying how there were so many influences that I remember thinking about when I first read the script because you start to just to get the creative energy flowing about what this new world could be. Drawing from different fantasies have been fun.”
When it came to directing something as grand as Cursed, Fuentes explained that it was a huge task for her despite her experience being behind the camera. “I think with a show liked Cursed, the bigger in scale that it involves a lot of moving parts. So the more people you have, the more elements you have that you have to account for.” She also added how much planning it took to create a battle scene that happened in one of the episodes involving Nimue fighting against a pack of wolves. “If you have these battle sequences where you have horses on the sand, smoke, practical fire, weaponry, and stunts, so it’s a lot of planning.”
When it came to bringing a classic story to a modern audience, Fuentes talked about how important it was to tackle themes that resonate with us in the present. “I think for me thematically when the stories really have something else to say, it just has more meaning to me.” The Bronx native clarified that the Netflix series dives deep into the ideas that it tries to push into the narrative. “I find when there’s something underneath it, there’s something layered in that has some meaning, it creates a deeper world and I think with Cursed, that was definitely in there.” The female-led series brings in issues like subjugation and protecting the Earth as one of the most important centerpieces in the story. “The concept of this constant oppression of people who are different, I thought that was really meaningful for me. What’s happening to our natural world, I thought that was interesting. We wanted to make sure that that was in there.”
Even though the book was in the process of being published while the show was being filmed, Fuentes mentioned that ideas would bounce around a lot between sets. “It was so fun to throw ideas out and Frank was still working on his illustrations and he wanted to see what we were doing, designing, and what the vision was of the practical world that we were building so we could bounce ideas off each other. It was an amazing creative conversation,” she said. Even with the show’s main star, Katherine Langford, Fuentes added how much easy it was to have her on set to portray such a powerful character. “I felt so grateful that it was her because we asked a lot of her. It’s a physically demanding role and she’s carrying the story. She’s putting all the work into it.”
To check out the rest of our chat with Fuentes, watch the rest of the video below. Cursed is now available to stream on Netflix.