The medieval fantasy genre’s place in pop culture got quite the stir after the series Game of Thrones came to a close. Some fans were satisfied with its conclusion, while others… not so much. But what it all boils down to is: where can we get our next dose of magic, monsters, and medieval battles?
Enter Netflix’s live-action adaptation of the famous video games, The Witcher series. Check out its trailer below:
Based on the books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher follows Geralt of Rivia, a monster-hunting mutant who travels to towns and kingdoms exchanging his services for money. Soon he would learn that destiny has tied him to a powerful sorceress and a Princess with a dangerous secret. Together, the three will then embark on a perilous journey within The Continent, a vast world shared by humans, monsters, and other magical beings.
At a press conference held in Manila this Thursday, December 12, The Witcher’s lead star Henry Cavill and showrunner Lauren Hissrich shared some details on the creation of the TV series. Check out the highlights of the press conference below:
Lauren Hissrich on the realization of the show.
The showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, shared that she had been a fan of the books before she helmed its Netflix TV adaptation, "I had read the first book The Last Wish before Netflix approached me about the show and I was a huge fan of it. So getting to do this has just been a dream come true, it's so much bigger than what I thought it to be."
Hissrich revealed that it took them 178 days to shoot the first season of the show. Most of the scenes were shot at Hungary, while others were done at Vienna in Austria, the Canary Islands in Spain, and in Poland where the world of The Witcher was first created. "It was really important to us to go to as many real places as we could and capture actual beautiful backgrounds so we were on the road a lot."
According Hissrich, what she found real challenging in turning the books and games into an actual series is not the lack of story to tell, but it's actually the other way around. So in making its first season, she says, "We wanted to appropriately build up what The Continent is and make sure that we understand the people that are in it, and the politics of the place, and the society and the hierarchy and exactly where Witchers fit into that."
Henry Cavill as the Witcher, Geralt of Rivia.
It turns out that the show's lead star was very excited to get the role of Geralt. Henry Cavill shared that his introduction to the character was through the games, and so when he heard about the Netflix adaptation, he tried to get into talks with the production as early as possible, having his agents go and try to convince them as many times as needed.
"Eventually, when Lauren was ready to take meetings, they must have said 'you gotta get this guy, otherwise he'd turn up at the door and be embarassing." Cavill joked.
Playing the role of the Witcher Geralt, Henry described it as "inbuilt" having been a fan of the fantasy genre ever since he was a kid. As for the sword fights, Henry said that the trickiest part when using the swords on-set is stopping when he swings it on a co-actor, and make it realistic without actually harming anyone, as much as possible.
When asked what Geralt's secret powers are besides basic magic and superhuman abilities, Henry Cavill gave an interesting piece of answer: "I think Geralt's true secret power is his capacity to love and his belief in the world to be a better place."
The women of The Witcher
In the series, besides Geralt, we also get to follow the characters of Yennefer and Ciri. Asked about how she approached the series in a woman's perspective, Lauren explains "I never think of myself as a female writer, I'm just a writer trying to tell good stories."
"What's important to me is that the stories that we are telling about women are as dimensional and as interesting as the ones we are telling about men. It's not about women being more important, it's not about men being more important. It's about making sure that all these characters are fully fleshed out." she adds.
Lauren also describes the show as a broken family coming together, with the family being composed of Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri. Lauren says she wanted to make each of the three characters equally interesting to the audiences, so that when their paths cross with each other, it would be a very interesting sight to behold.