One of the most intriguing characters to come out of the Netflix television series Cursed is the Weeping Monk, played by Daniel Sharman. Based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler, the story follows Nimue (Katherine Langford), the eventual Lady of the Lake, who's earned a reputation as both the Wolf Blood Witch and the Queen of the Fey through her latent powers and sword bestowed upon her. Stuck in a power grab throughout the kingdom, Nimue seeks to fight injustice and protect her people from the persecuting forces of the Red Paladins. The Weeping Monk is their greatest champion. Sherman, Miller, and Wheeler spoke to Collider about the growth of his character and the jaw-dropping reveal at the conclusion of season one. Obviously, there are MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD! so it's best to watch the first season of the Arthurian fantasy before proceeding.
In the beginning, the Weeping Monk carves a path of death and destruction raining terror to whoever crossed him. Late in the season, he's later revealed to be a fey himself indoctrinated to be pious with all the flogging marks to show for it. When Squirrel/Percival (Billy Jenkins) gets captured by the Red Paladins, it becomes a line that goes too far for Lancelot before he decides to turn on his handlers and flee. "I think it's the only way Lancelot makes sense because Lancelot is a fanatic,' Miller said. "He is the best swordsman and he is driven by unholy passions and hates himself for it. He cheats on his best friend and curses himself for it. That's about as Catholic as it gets. So all of that's of a piece to me, that that's who Lancelot is. And so, yes, he is the best swordsman. He is a noble man, but he is his… I mean, when you first meet him in Cursed, he's a mysterious assassin who certainly has yet to find his way. And then, of course, he becomes just as fanatic about being the good guy and then cheats on his King. It's just this a character of unbelievable passion. And he's a little crazy. Yeah."
How Cursed Lancelot Differs From Traditional Arthurian Lore
Wheeler added it's important to unlearn who people are used to about the Arthurian lore when it comes to the story. "[Lancelot] seems like a tortured guy," said. "He's fighting against something internal that is so powerful and so motivating for him, but so conflicted that it just was really about having him aware of that conflict more. And then I think when the idea of just maybe hiding the bomb in terms of who the Weeping Monk actually was, the whole idea of starting with Nimue gives you all kinds of new avenues for meeting these characters. So you kind of can shake loose previous ideas of them, as long as you, and Frank and I talked about this a lot, as long as you stay loyal to who they are at their core."
The thing Miller and Wheeler thought Sharman brought to the table was how he gives Lancelot his fanatical edge. "Rightfully so, because he thinks it's the crux of survival," Sherman said. "If you believe something, then it will keep him alive and it will justify his actions. There's a lot that he has to hold on to and so fanaticism comes out of that, which is, 'I don't want to take anybody else's opinion on this. It's what I know is true.'" Sherman thought it was important to show how Lancelot ultimately becomes shaped by his emotions. "A lot of things written about him were always his emotionality," he continued. "I always thought how interesting to start with no emotion so that you get somewhere so that the audience feels like they understand that this character has been bound for so many years. What would happen if he becomes unbound in a moment? What does that do? What does that do to his psychological character?"
Despite peeling a major layer off the character, Sharman believes rebuilding Lancelot's core, values, and trust to the character we all know today will present a challenge in and of itself. "His perfectionism and also his loyalty; his insane sense of loyalty in this being broken and fundamentally his trust being ripped apart," he said. "It then causes a moral war to rage within himself constantly that he has to come to terms with and rectify. I kind of liked that those were the central themes of his character and then you could get there. I was trying to see how far could you go the other way to get to the Lancelot that we know. How much could you subvert it? That's what largely I did, was to start with someone who had no empathy and no ability to relate. That's why you see the Weeping Monk, that's the beginning." Cursed, which also stars Devon Terrell, Gustaf Skarsgård, Sebastian Armesto, Lily Newmark, and Shalom Brune-Franklin, is available to stream on Netflix.