How Henry Cavill perfected The Witcher’s Geralt of Rivia

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In a new interview conducted by Marcin Zwierzchowski and published in Nowa Fantastyka Magazine, The Witcher showrunner Lauren Hissrich and Executive Producer Tomek Baginski revealed how Henry Cavill perfected the role of Geralt of Rivia in the upcoming Netflix adaption. We have the translation below.

Marcin Zwierzchowski: How was the casting process for Geralt?

Lauren Hissrich: Back when we were still location scouting in Poland, I kept getting messages from Netflix that they’re getting calls from actors interested in playing Geralt. And that most often it’s Henry Cavill calling. I agreed to talk to him, we met in Los Angeles, but it was really the very first stage of working on the show. We got along perfectly, Henry really loves this world, he played all the games, read all of the books and he had lots of thoughts on how he would play Geralt. In the end, I had to tell him that we didn’t even have the scripts yet, that we didn’t have much in general, so I couldn’t offer him the role. Around two months later we started the casting process and, for Geralt, we looked at 207 candidates. But this whole time I couldn’t get Henry’s voice out of my head and I couldn’t forget our conversation. So I called him, we met again, this time in New York. We talked about Geralt, Henry described his perspective on a few of the scenes, and when we finished and Henry left around two hours later, I knew he was our Geralt.

From what I understand, Henry not only read the books, but knows them perfectly and can quote them.

Lauren Hissrich and Tomek Baginski: Definitely!

LH: Not so long ago, Henry and I passionately talked about the Feainnewedd flowers. Passionately! About Feainnewedd flowers!

TB: He also pointed out that a bite of one of the monsters shouldn’t be lethal. When the script said the bite could kill you. There were many moments like that.

After having picked the actor, how was the process of forming Geralt in front of the camera? In the show, Henry Cavill looks completely different from his previous roles.

LH: And he’s also different from what I wrote in the first version of the script. In that, Geralt talked a lot, like in the books, he’s very open about what he feels and thinks. But Henry can emote a lot without words, so gradually and naturally we started to cut down on his dialogue. The camera focused on him when he battled his own thoughts and made decisions, and it looked great on screen. In my opinion, Geralt as a character constantly evolves, which is hugely because of Henry, because of his interpretation of the books and his decisions as an actor.

TB: There was a moment, where Henry returned to the set after the Christmas break, and we knew he found his Geralt. Because earlier he was actively searching for him! We started shooting in November and Henry was still experimenting with the voice and acting. However in January, when he showed up on set, we knew he had it.

LH: Henry himself says that he needed to find the perfect voice for Geralt. You can hear that, that he changes the tone, there’s weariness in it. But the evolving didn’t apply only to Henry’s acting, but also to the armor, the wig, the contact lenses. Oh yes, we changed the wigs many, many times!

TB: For Henry it was crucial that if Geralt was on screen it was him, not a stunt double. Always him.

That shows in the fight scenes, where it’s always Henry. No tricks.

TB: None at all. Only Henry.

LH: Henry doesn’t have a stunt double.

TB: For the fight in the pilot episode he trained for like three weeks.

This special edition of Nowa Fantastyka Magazine includes thirteen pages of set reports and interviews (including one with series author Andrzej Sapkowski and another with The Witcher‘s leading female stars). Nowa Fantastyka is available for purchase in Poland.

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