Entertainment

Henry Cavill wanted an intellectual Geralt for Season 2 of The Witcher


Monster slayer has a new look as the fantasy hit returns to the small screen

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Like a lot of us, Henry Cavill spent many hours during lockdown playing video games. But The Witcher star also used some of his downtime to help rethink his character’s outfit for the second season of the Netflix hit series.

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“I helped design that with (costume designer) Lucinda (Wright),” he offers in a video call from New York City. “When we were in lockdown, I looked at the photos and came up with some ways it could be improved.”

The new costume Cavill dons as he reprises his role as the monster hunter Geralt of Rivia in the series based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher books and video games boasts a blackened chest protector and multi-layered shoulder plates.

The updated armour design, Cavill says, helped him end up with “less blisters and bruises.”

“We gave it a story. It’s something from the dungeons of Kaer Morhen from a time that is long gone,” he continues. “So it had to look different from modern armour. But mostly for me, beyond having it look like something from an ancient time, it had to be something I could move in more easily. So we focused on making sure the shoulders were made in such a way that I could do all the necessary sword-fighting.”

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Henry Cavill stars in the Netflix fantasy series The Witcher.
Henry Cavill stars in the Netflix fantasy series The Witcher. Photo by Netflix

But switching up his look wasn’t the only change Cavill wanted to make. After slaying monsters, and becoming a father figure to Princess Cirilla (Freya Allan) at the end of the first season, the actor wanted Geralt to embrace his brainier side.

Freya Allan as Princess Cirilla and Henry Cavill as Geralt in Season 2 of Netflix’s The Witcher.
Freya Allan as Princess Cirilla and Henry Cavill as Geralt in Season 2 of Netflix’s The Witcher. Photo by Jay Maidment /Netflix

“I campaigned extra-hard this season to make sure we got more of the intellectual Geralt,” Cavill says. “I wanted more of the verbose and wise and philosophical-leaning Geralt.”

So after a flurry of emails to showrunner Lauren Hissrich, the 38-year-old Brit unlocked another goal.

“One of the fun things about Geralt is that while he’s grumpy and petulant at times, he’s an intellectual type. You have to have all of that to show the true nature of Sapkowski’s work.”

It’s a commitment Cavill has shown to his appearances in other big franchises. In addition to helping launch The Witcher in 2019 (making it one of Netflix’s most-watched original titles along the way), Cavill has played Superman across three different DC films (which have hauled in more than $2 billion at the worldwide box office), and was a scene-stealing baddie opposite Tom Cruise in 2018’s Mission: Impossible — Fallout .

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“The challenge is the same,” he says. “There’s a responsibility there to make sure that the character’s (actions) are justified.”

Henry Cavill in a scene from Season 2 from The Witcher.
Henry Cavill in a scene from Season 2 from The Witcher. Photo by Netflix

The new season of The Witcher , which is streaming now on Netflix, finds Geralt seeking safe haven with Cirilla in the confines of his childhood home alongside his mentor Vesemir ( Killing Eve’s Kim Bodnia) and his fellow monster hunters. As the Northern Kingdoms, the Elder Races and the Nilfgaardian Empire engage in a deadly battle across an unnamed continent, Geralt must try and help his Child of Surprise harness the mysterious power within her.

“She has an unknown power which is becoming more and more apparent and it’s extraordinary and it can do some serious damage,” Cavill teases. “So it’s all about everyone trying to come together and work out what this is and how terrifying that might be.”

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Henry Cavill attends The Witcher press conference in Madrid.
Henry Cavill attends The Witcher press conference in Madrid. Photo by Pablo Cuadra /etty Images for Netflix

The sprawling narrative will also delve into a secondary storyline involving Yennefer (Anya Chalotra), Geralt’s one true love, and introduce the villainous mage Rience (Chris Fulton).

Cavill’s role on The Witcher is one he pursued relentlessly and is something he’s committed to through Hissrich’s seven-season plan. But it’s just one of many on his plate. Next year, he’ll start work on Season 3 and head an all-star lineup for Kingsman director Matthew Vaughn’s spy thriller Argylle .

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Cavill is also set to lead John Wick director Chad Stahelski’s reboot of the ’80s fantasy epic Highlander and reprise his role as Sherlock Holmes in Netflix’s Enola Holmes 2 .

Further down the line, now that Daniel Craig has handed in his licence to kill, there are whispers that he could take over as James Bond. Of course, the Superman cape that has been in the closet since he last appeared as the DC superhero in 2017’s Justice League could also be dusted off at a moment’s notice.

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“There is still a lot of storytelling for me to do as Superman, and I would absolutely love the opportunity,” he told The Hollywood Reporter last month.

One thing Cavill won’t do is try to cement himself as the face of any one franchise.

“I never try and focus on making these characters my own,” he says. “The focus is for me to do as much justice to the source material as I humanly can. It’s always been that.”

Seasons 1 and 2 of The Witcher are streaming now on Netflix .

mdaniell@postmedia.com

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