The media embargo for The Witcher is ending and we are starting to get the interviews the cast were giving earlier this year. In a new interview to Hobby Consolas, Henry Cavill discusses his dream role of Geralt in Netflix’s The Witcher, his hope to play him for many years to come as well as the video-games inspired by Andrzej Sapkowski’s saga.
Big thanks to Vale do Pontar for the translation.
Discussing getting into Geralt of Rivia‘s character, Henry said: “I really enjoy playing these kind of games and reading these kinds of books in my spare time. I don’t consider it a job. For me it is more like an extraordinary opportunity to live my childhood and adult life fantasies. That’s why it’s one of those things that I enjoy and I don’t find it difficult to get into the character.”
As far as his favourite games go, Henry’s answer was swift: “The Witcher 3, but I love Total War games as well. Every time I get into one of them, I keep playing until I die for good. For some reason, there is something about the nature of the strategy of the battle front that I love. And it’s a little bit of, you know, building an empire, which is fun. And I may not play for months and months, but as soon as I finish playing a match, I can finish the game again and see everything and it feels like a completely new experience. Total War games are probably my favorites because I can play them wherever and whenever I want and start over. And it’s still a fresh experience, which is a dream come true ”
Henry also offered a reminder that the show is based on the books: “My version of Geralt is true to the books, and I’m sure it is to the game, too, because I’m a big fan of the game. But, to put it simply, Geralt’s heart is that of a traveling knight, but his exterior is jaded because of the world and his vision is obscured by the world and everyone. At first he may look badass, but when you really look, it’s the other way around. But that’s what makes him interesting: deep down he’s a knight, he’s one of those fan heroes, but from the outside he looks the other way around. And that’s one of the things I love about this character. Because even though he is that thing, he is also different on the outside, which is extraordinary.”
And, to switch to more direct transcriptions…
What about Geralt excites you, as Henry Cavill? How do you connect with a character personally?
Connect with the character personally? I think there’s a little of the person I want to be too. It’s what I want to be, I want to be this person. I also have similar doubts that Geralt has about the world. And I see something new in Geralt’s approach… It’s a hard question to answer… and very personal. I think a part of me probably resonates with him. Because there is definitely a part of his personality that gets in the way of mine.
What has it been like working on a Netflix production now that we live in the golden age of television shows?
It’s great. I go back to these kinds of things, the ones I live and breathe in my free time, and then I can go to work and have it as my daily job. This kind of thing I would do in my free time seems like an extraordinary opportunity, especially at this time when television is considered a major form of legitimate storytelling. And it’s an alternative where I can really tell Geralt’s story a long way, and I hope for many years it keeps being a dream come true.
What was the hardest scene to shoot so far?
Unfortunately, I can’t name any specific scenes from The Witcher, because I want to keep the story as fresh as possible for all our viewers. But there were some long sequences that filming took us a few weeks, which had a wide variety of shooting moments, long dialogues along with exceptional action moments. I can’t say which one was the hardest, but the fact is that some were very long, I was barely sleeping and that definitely has an effect at the end of two weeks.
The show is entertainment on the one hand, and on the other hand there are many political elements in it. How would you describe the show to someone unfamiliar with the book? Or the game adaptation?
Very good question. I would say it is difficult to describe it in a highly political world. You have the opportunity to follow a character who is refreshingly apolitical. And also at the same time controversial and politically correct, according to his views, as he would describe it himself.
How will you reflect Geralt’s alienation in a show with so much action?
The wonderful thing is that you don’t expect him to be a hero, he probably shouldn’t be a hero because of how he was treated. But he gives wonderful examples, being a hero after all, in his actions and reactions.
On physical preparation for action, should we prepare for something like John Wick, but with magic?
I have many sources of inspiration that were absolutely extraordinary and exist on our own ground, but I would not like to compare or contrast it to anything. What we are doing here is creating some fantastic themes with sword action, physical breathing is very important to me, as you all know, and I am doing my best to ensure that it is perfectly representative of what The Witcher is capable of doing.
When we see you, we also think of superheroes, what is it like to play Geralt compared to Superman?
They are very different characters, but both are heroes. I think Geralt has the opportunity to add a little more fun, because of his nature of being an ancient hero, apolitical, controversial in his views, and nonconformist. So it can be so much more fun. But even so, both are heroes, I think Geralt is Superman at heart, but he’s something else on the outside. So it provides another layer for the audience to break and for other characters to reach him.
What does a witcher look like and how has this physical preparation been? Is there a “special witcher diet”?
There is something special it, but I wouldn’t say it’s “special for witchers”, I mean, there is a diet that my trainer has for me, so maybe it’s a “Henry’s diet”. And yes, I’m focused on my training right now, making sure I’m as thin as possible for The Witcher. And also making sure I have enough muscle mass to actually look like someone who has gone through the same limitations Geralt has been through and at the same time through so much training.
A real sword is extraordinarily difficult to use for an extended period because of its weight. And if you can imagine that Geralt has been doing this since he was a boy, then you really have to get into his skin, and this is something important to play. I want the character to look both incredibly thin and at the same time very dangerous. And so, the diet and training program reflects this.
How important are female characters to Geralt and how do you describe them in your character development?
I think that, for Geralt, no one is important. Or is that what he likes to think anyway. Unconsciously or subconsciously, everyone becomes important to him, he has an extraordinary connection with his mother, which is a lost relationship, but somehow it’s incredibly strong and deeply rooted in his psyche. And I’m not saying he has some kind of mom issues or anything like that. But having it, when it comes to female characters in the story, obviously has a huge effect on his life. Anyone who has read the books, who has played the games, knows that there are many important female characters, I will not go into details, but they are great characters who are women and who are great guides in Geralt’s life, with an incredibly powerful influence on him.
Next up is an interview with Anya Chalotra and Freya Allan. Read it here!