Henry Cavill on The Witcher’s Geralt of Rivia: ‘He’s a weapon of fiery wrath’

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Following the unveiling of the first trailer for Netflix’s The Witcher, an embargo has been lifted on another of the show’s set reports, this time featuring star Henry Cavill. In the article, Cavill discusses what drew him to the complex role of Geralt of Rivia, the source of his gaming habits and what we can expect from the show’s upcoming first season.

“I’m a big gamer,” Henry Cavill told the reporters of SFX magazine. “A PC gamer in particular. I played The Witcher 2 many years ago when it first came out. I played The Witcher 3 a number of times through. My gaming interests probably came from my father’s influence. He liked PCs. When we were all kids, me and my four brothers, we ended up with a table in our dining room, and much to my mother’s dismay, we turned it into a gaming table. So we had four or five PCs all linked up by local area network. And that just became part of our childhood.”

Cavill’s gaming habits led him to fall in love with The Witcher III: Wild Hunt and, shortly after the game’s release, Netflix purchased the rights to develop their adaptation of the novels. “Any game I play which I enjoy, I’m like, ‘Could it make a good movie? Could it make a TV show?’ That’s just the business mind working. And also the creative mind. It’s fun to do this stuff. And it’s fun to play these games and be able to actually play them as close to real life as possible. And so when this popped up, I said, ‘Guys, I want to be a part of it.’ And here I am, so I’m a happy man.”

Cavill stars as the series’ titular witcher, Geralt of Rivia. Describing Geralt, the actor said: “What I like about the character is that he’s a good guy, right? Ultimately, deep down in his core, he’s a white knight. But he’s also capable of being incredibly cold and doing what’s necessary. He isn’t just the guy who does the right thing all the time. He has made mistakes and his mistakes have sometimes been bloody and brutal. He takes a real-world view. He’s not a Utopian character at all, he is the best you can get from a very, very harsh world, and he’s incredible at surviving in it.”

Witchers, like many non-human races in the Continent, are often hated and misunderstood, and Cavill’s storyline will tackle that front-and-center. “You see Geralt navigating his way through these prejudices, and trying to heal them. And at the same time, also being a weapon of fiery wrath. How can I say this in code?” he asks, careful not to give away spoilers. “He goes from a particular belief – because that’s how he’s managed to survive in the world so far – and that belief is twisted and turned and evolves into something else, entirely separate.”

“Henry is a dream to work with,” said The Witcher showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich. “[In our second meeting] I talked to him about the Geralt that we wanted in the show. He talked about how he would best portray Geralt. We talked about white hair and contact lenses and all of the practicalities of embodying this character, which he does so well. And by the end of that meeting I think we both knew it was meant to be and we’ve never looked back. He brings so much heart and soul.”

Below is a snippet from the article, describing a scene filmed for the seventh installment of the show’s eight-episode season, involving Henry Cavill.

Close to the Hungarian town of Baj, some 70 kilometers from Budapest, Henry Cavill is standing in a huge, dome-like cavern. Usually, it’s a wine cellar; today it’s been remodeled for one of the many sets for The Witcher, the new fantasy show from Netflix based on the hugely popular book series by Andrzej Sapkowski. Cavill, famed for playing Superman in the recent DC Comics movies, takes the lead, as Geralt of Rivia. Currently, the team is working on episode seven (there are eight in total) amid what’s been an arduous seven-month shoot. In the middle of the room stands a giant well, with a beam of light shooting out from underneath. A cameraman follows Cavill, dressed in black leather, with a sword on his back and long silver hair, as he prowls around the well. “That’s lovely, Henry” says a voice from the gloom, as “cut” is called, and Cavill takes five.

The Witcher debuts on Netflix on December 20.

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