He’s the Sea Boar, the mighty Crach an Craite, and a fine source of Witcher memes. We’ve been chatting to Scottish actor Blair Kincaid, who portrays the mighty Skelligan in Netflix’s The Witcher! Here’s what he had to say about his time on set…
REDANIAN INTELLIGENCE (RI): You’re probably aware that you’re playing an icon! Most fans will know Crach an Craite as the aging but fierce warrior-lord from the games. In the books, we are introduced to Crach as a much younger man who has yet to make his mark on the world. Where do we find him in the show and how would you describe him as a character?
BLAIR KINCAID (BK): At first when I was cast I was like, “Okay, so I’m Crach” … and to be honest, I’ve just been filled with excitement about this character since. In the books he’s still a fierce warrior, but he’s younger, feistier and has more to learn. I think what’s nice is being able to see how Crach became the Sea Boar everyone knows and loves. Crach is short-tempered, confident, knows the art of war and eats and drinks till he hits the floor.
RI: Your character and his company come from the Skellige Islands, a remote and distinct locale in the Witcher universe. Can you tell us what sets Crach and his countrymen apart in the show? Will we be hearing your Scottish accent?
BK: I think firstly being away from the mainland and on the islands sets them apart as there’s less of an influence into other ways of living. They’re hardened by the sea and rough (beautiful) climate. And some would say having a sea border is susceptible to an attack … well, not when you have the strongest fleet of ships in The Witcher’s universe. I do speak. If it’s Welsh, you’re probably watching the wrong show.
RI: We’re sure competition was fierce for this role. What do you think gave you the edge?
BK: I’m not entirely sure to be honest. When I got the audition through I knew then and there I really wanted to play Crach, and when your casting ticks a lot of boxes then that helps. Also Sophie is a great casting director and really puts you at ease, which helps bring out your best performance.
RI: As we mentioned, Crach is well known for his depiction in the games, but the show is actually based on the books. Did you take any inspiration from them?
BK: I got pretty invested looking at fan theories and discussions, but to be honest, when you read the books all the characters are so clear in who they are and having that source material there, it makes it a little easier.
RI: Your character is introduced in the books in a large feast which involves several other characters who seem to be part of the Netflix series. We imagine the scene in question was chaotic to film, seeing as it involved so many cast members. How complex was the shoot?
BK: My big ginger bearded lips are sealed. I can say the shoot was a lot of fun and everyone involved was professional and lovely. And from what I have seen so far it looks awesome.
RI: You’ve posted some pictures on social media with other characters from the show, and it looked like you were all having so much fun! What was the atmosphere like on set, and were there any especially memorable moments?
BK: You couldn’t have asked for a better atmosphere on set. The first-day nerves came and went in a matter of minutes, it was just sheer excitement and awe that was left. I remember just looking around at everyone working hard and having fun and I had that actor moment where you are like: “This is why I do what I do.”
RI: Henry Cavill is obviously a huge name to have on set. The fans would never forgive us if we didn’t ask this, so … did you meet Henry’s dog? (and what was it like working with Henry!)
BK: Haha, I love how Kal comes first. I saw him one morning near my trailer and I smiled and it looked like he smiled, so yeah, we smiled at each other. Working with Henry was great, he’s a really nice guy, professional and hard working and I learned a few things from watching him in action.
RI: In the books, your storyline involves a mysterious man who is turned into a monster. Without giving away any spoilers, what can you tell us of the show’s approach to monster design? Did you have to use your imagination much?
BK: The whole team are amazing, when you walk on set you are literally transported into The Witcher’s universe. Yes, as an actor, you do use your imagination, but when you can physically touch and see your surroundings then half your job is done.
RI: Fans of fantasy series are always eager to see some unique costuming and set design. How were your outfits, and what can we expect from the sets?
BK: The costumes all look amazing, and were surprisingly comfortable. The sets are huge and the design is unreal. It will be evident when the show finally airs how much detail The Witcher crew went into.
RI: How does the scale of this production compare to others you’ve been on?
BK: This has been the biggest by far I have worked on.
RI: According to your CV, you can play the bagpipes (which we love – please bring yours to Comic Con 2020!). Is it too much to hope for a collaboration between yourself and Ross Telfer’s Draig Bon Dhu?
BK: Haha, now there is an idea. Maybe wear a cheeky wee kilt too? Never too much hope, I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.
RI: Where else can Witcher fans see your work for a sense of what you’ll bring to Crach? And have you got any projects coming soon that we should keep our eyes on?
BK: I sometimes sing in the shower, but unless you’re walking by at that exact moment I guess you’ll have to wait. Joking aside, I’m waiting for a few bits of material coming back to update my showreel, so I guess keep your eyes peeled. Other than auditioning and baking banana and choc chip muffins, I’ve began writing a screen play… wait for it… about a Scottish… Superhero. I’ve hit a writers’ block so I accidentally started writing a second screenplay about a Scottish superhero. Just kidding! The second one is completely different.
RI: And finally, do you have any message for the fans?
BK: Thank you for being patient and for your funny memes. It is worth the two-year wait, I promise, and those of you lucky enough to make the San Diego Comic-Con, enjoy! I’m sure you’ll have a Craching time. 😉
While Blair’s lips were sealed on the scenes we’ll be seeing him in, enough information has escaped the set for us to piece some together.
The show will be adapting the short story A Question of Price for episode four, directed by Álex García López, of Daredevil fight-scene fame. It takes Henry Cavill’s Geralt of Rivia (using an alias of Ravix of Fourhorn) to Cintra, as Queen Calanthe eyes up suitors for Princess Pavetta, played by Jodhi May and Gaia Mondadori respectively.
It’s the story that sees the first threads of destiny between Geralt and Ciri (Freya Allan) spun, as the Law of Surprise does its work, and Crach is there with his team from Skellige. Although, we didn’t spot him in the set photo that leaked from Cintra…
We know Cintra will be appearing elsewhere in the season, and it seems likely Nilfgaard laying siege will happen on-screen. But will Blair have more screentime than episode four? We hope so.