“Are you satisfied with the script?” the interviewer asked The Witcher author Andrzej Sapkowski a few months before Netflix premiered its first season of the Henry Cavill series. The author, well known for his controversial humor, did not answer “by the book”. The video is available on YouTube, and we have the translation’s transcript below.
“Why not? Yeah, I’m… It’s not as good as my books. That’s how adaptations work. Adaptations of every genre, every media can be described in the form of a curve which is called the Gaussian Curve. It sounds much better in Italian, when I give lectures in Italy. It’s: ‘La Curva de Gauss!‘ I always say it with pleasure, huge pleasure.”
“So this La Curva de Gauss,” said Sapkowski. “Resembles, as you all know or don’t know, I’m not sure if it was taught in every faculty… [coughs] But it resembles a huge tit. [Sapkowski uses hand gestures to draw a Gaussian Tit in the air] And you can say that at the very bottom of this tit, this Gaussian Curve, are adaptations that are terrible. They’re so bad and far from the original, that you feel depressed. Then you go up and up and at the top of the Gaussian Curve are adaptations that we perceive as worse [than the original]. Nothing more, just worse. And then we go down the curve and we see adaptations that are less and less bad and, finally, at the very bottom, we see adaptations that are… better. A big rarity. A rarity. It would be faster to find a swamp turtle in Ner than that kind of adaption, but they exist. I, personally, know at least three.”
“So they exist?” the interviewer asked. Sapkwoski confirms: “They exist. Maybe not in Poland or in Ner, but good adaptations exist. However, adaptations, generally, are always worse. Always. They can’t be better, cause then what? Back to school!”
This isn’t the first adaption of Sapkowski’s Saga. Before Netflix hired Henry Cavill for the role, and even before CD Projekt RED released their acclaimed trilogy of video games, The Witcher was made into a Polish TV show (and film) titled The Hexer. Very few fans of the saga appreciated the Polish TV show, and Sapkowski recognizes that the filming industry has come a long way. Things were handled very differently in the Netflix version.
“I can only say I was on the set. I saw how it’s done. Oh, Jesus, it’s a totally different thing. Now [it’s not just] that director with this [megaphone, screaming commands], with a folding chair. There are chairs. Even I had my own – Andrzej Sapkowski written on the back. But everything is with computers… Everything. The scenes take place everywhere. I mean, not in a different city, but in another, let’s say, room… on the set. The rest of the set [is full of computers].”
Sapkowski shared two other highlights from his set visit. “I got to know [Henry Cavill], the actor who plays the witcher. He had a cool costume and this whole characterization. Yes. It [was all shot] in Hungary – there were probably five big hangars. But very big. Huge! It all takes place there, and I’ve heard this little ‘village’ is not even the biggest of its kind in Hungary. They’ve got colossal tax credits. People that do all that stuff. So they opened up a lot of [film studios].”
“I sneaked there,” said Sapkowski. “And now I don’t have to hide anything. I sneaked secretly because, in the nearest hangar, Jodorowski was making Dune! So I sneaked there but, aside from a big desert, there was nothing there. Just one big, huge desert. But what else should we expect? Dune!”