Henry Cavill's training for the role consisted of extensive sword-training (besides the rigorous bodybuilding required to prepare his physique for the camera). He said, "I spent all of my free time, and when I wasn't on set, with a sword in my hand. It was getting used to the weight of the sword, using it day in and day out. I had three swords where I lived, and four at work. And it was just non-stop practice, practice, practice."
Henry Cavill himself actively pursued the role of Geralt until he got it. When Cavill first heard that the show was being made, he repeatedly bothered his agents to get a meeting with Netflix. Finally, Netflix agreed to take the meeting with him but show-runner Lauren Schmidt initially turned him down because she hadn't written a single word of the script yet and did not know what the show was going to be. After 4 months, as the show was being written, Schmidt tested 207 actors for Geralt but couldn't find him. She said that while writing the script, she kept hearing Cavill's voice in her head speaking Geralt's lines. Finally, 4 months after their initial meeting, she met Cavill again, and this time during his audition, when he read the lines she had written live in front of her in his real voice, she instantly knew that Cavill was Geralt. Cavill said it was important to go through the process to make sure the right actor was picked and he was thrilled to finally win the role which he called his "dream come true". He went to add "it was an absolute honor to play Geralt because he lives very close to my heart."
Henry Cavill's performance was so on point that he didn't even need much of the dialogue written for this character, writer and show-runner Lauren Schmidt revealed, because he was able to convey everything through his performance alone. She said, "In the first episode, I wrote Geralt with a lot of lines. Henry shot them all, and in the edit we started pulling some of them out. Henry brings subtleties to this character, finding emotional resonance in small moments, and playing it in such a subtle way that you understand what the character is going through without necessarily having huge chunks of dialogue. By the time we got to the finale of the first season - we didn't even shoot half the dialogue because we knew there was so much Henry could do with Geralt that didn't require my words."
Vladimir Furdik, the veteran stuntman and fight designer (of Game of Thrones fame who eventually ended up portraying the Night King on the hit show) praised Henry Cavill's fighting skills as the best he had ever seen in his decades long career. Furdik spoke at length at the Eastern European Comic-Con 2019 about the "dance like" fighting style he created for Cavill's Geralt character, "I think Netflix made a very good decision to give the role to Henry because I don't know anyone else in the world who looks like The Witcher. Or any actor, who has as much experience with the sword as Henry. He's a very good fighter. So it was not difficult for me to teach him anything. He put in a lot of hard work in the fights. Another thing was that we could not copy the (The Witcher) video-game. Video games are completely different. If you are going to kill someone, you can kill them from this side or that side or another side. You can put the sword in, in many ways. I hope you like his style, I tried to give him a more dance-like style. Something that is effortless. He goes through the fight as if he can predict what is going to happen. He knows 3 seconds before killing someone how he will kill him." He also praised Cavill's quick learning skills at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2019, "Henry is excellent, without him they (Netflix) wouldn't be able to do (the Witcher show), I can guarantee that. I don't know any actors who are that good with a sword and fight scenes overall as Henry is. I have never met anyone who could learn fight choreography for a scene in two hours." Asked if Cavill was better than Furdik's Game of Thrones co-star Kit Harrington, Furdik replied, "Kit didn't have to do such complex moves in his fight scenes (as Henry)."
Henry Cavill adapted an incredibly deep manly voice to play the Witcher (as heard in the trailer) lowering the register of his already deep voice. Doug Cockle, the American voice artist who provided the voice for Geralt in the famous video games praised Cavill's deep voice saying, "What else are you going to do with him? You can't give him a squeaky New York accent or something like that. He's gotta have that gruff voice." Cockle said that many fans contacted him after the release of the trailer to ask him if Cavill's deep voice had been influenced by Cockle given the fact that Cavill is a huge fan of the video games and has played them multiple times so he would be extremely familiar with Cockle's voice. Set reports also revealed that, Cavill maintained his deep voice on set even once filming for the day had ended.
Renewed for a second series in November 2019, a month prior to the release of season one
An adaptation of the books, not the video games. In fact, showrunner Lauren Schmidt revealed in an interview that the show will never adapt the video games.
Geralt's iconic bathtub scene from the Witcher video games was partially recreated by Henry Cavill as shown in the trailer. In the games, the scene shows Geralt half-naked lounging in a bathtub and was famous for its risque humor. Cavill's version also shows him lounging shirtless in a bath with his muscular physique on full display. The scene after premiering in the trailer drew a lot of positive buzz and commentary online as it brought together fans of the games, books and Cavill together for the fan favorite moment. Netflix and series creator Lauren Hissrich joked that the bathtub scene was now part of the official canon (even though the series is based on the books and not the games).
Henry Cavill indicated that he got in the best shape of his life for The Witcher because he wants to push the boundaries of his physique for every role. He told Entertainment Tonight, "Every time I get into shape for a movie or a TV show, it is always trying to upgrade from the last one. And my trainer Dave Rienzi pushes me to the point where it is the absolute maximum for that job. And then in between jobs we'll work to improve it and then on the next job again, try and push the envelope more. Each time, if I am doing it right, I should be in better shape." He went to add, "Because we are working in the medium of film, it is all about the aesthetic. And it is how one looks - if one looks a certain degree better than you looked previously. Some people won't notice the difference. But people like myself and Dave do. Because we're going through the finite process of changing things." Cavill underestimated the changes because fans immediately noticed the enormous upgrade in his physique once the trailer premiered at Comic Con 2019. In the trailer, Cavill appeared shirtless in one scene showing a level of muscularity and sculpting far exceeding anything he had shown in his three outings as Superman.
The Telegraph published an interview with Henry Cavill on 22 December 2018 where it was revealed that "the role (Geralt of Rivia) will require him to pump his body up to CGI levels of muscularity". But Cavill indicated he was ready saying, "I enjoy the physical challenge. I'm lucky enough to have the genetics that result in quick changes. I can get really quite big if I set my mind to it." It was also revealed that Cavill would get his famous eight-pack abs back for the series.
The actress portraying Tissaia, MyAnna Buring, has previously voiced the role of Anna Henrietta in the English version of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine (2016).
The showrunner originally estimated a 2020 release date, before Netflix announced an official release date of Q4 2019.
When the Netflix Witcher series was first announced, the press release didn't make it clear if it was going to be live action or CGI animated, leaving many people confused. On the 25 May 2017, director Tomasz Baginski officially confirmed that it's going to be live action, stating that his experience in the animation field have taught him the disadvantages a CGI series would encounter in this case.
To correctly perform the sword-fighting scenes and because of the fact that he did not use any stunt doubles for any action scenes, Henry Cavill went through special gym training to prepare his body for the level of stunt work needed. He strengthened his posterior chain (group of muscles consisting of hamstrings, glutes and back muscles) to help create Geralt's pirouette sword-fighting technique where he spins around a lot. He developed his abs and obliques to allow for explosive movement. He built up his shoulder muscles to allow for more muscular strength and control while handling a heavy sword. He bulked up his biceps and forearms to help with endurance during the sword fighting scenes as well as the horse-riding scenes.
Henry Cavill teased his buffed up Geralt physique on 21st December 2018 by posting a gym selfie in a singlet which showed off his bulging pecs and biceps. Cavill has indicated that he plans to get more muscular for the role and has been training with Dwayne Johnson's trainer (Dave Rienzi) while also drawing inspiration from bodybuilders for his transformation, like Phil Heath.
Actor Ian Beattie (Meryn Trant) was allegedly auditioning for The Witcher (2019), but was unable to do as it stated on the casting sheet 'No Game of Thrones (2011) actors'. This is despite the fact that two actors from the HBO series have been cast: Jodhi May (Maggy) as Queen Calanthe and Francis Magee (Yoren) as Yurga. Rebecca Benson (Talla Tarly) was also in the pilot episode, The Witcher: The End's Beginning (2019), before being recast by Mia McKenna-Bruce.
Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, the show runner, initially refused to be in charge of the show. When she read The Last Wish, the first book of the original saga, she estimated to not be the "right person" for this job, mainly because she was not experienced with fantasy. But when she read the book again, she found out that "even with removing all fantasy elements, you still have a family story, around three main characters". So she accepted the job.
On September 4, 2018 Lauren Schmidt, the creator of the series, confirmed on Instagram that Henry Cavill had indeed won the role of Geralt.
Producer Tomasz Baginski indicated Henry Cavill was the perfect for the role of Geralt saying, "Henry is a big, strong guy. I wouldn't want to mess with him. The audience will love him."
Netflix will reportedly use the "Panavision DXL2" camera to film the series. In comparison, this particular belongs to a newer generation of cameras compared to the ones traditionally used by Netflix on shows such as The Crown (2016) and Stranger Things (2016).
Henry Cavill achieved his best ever physique for the role Geralt of Rivia, topping his previous best physique displayed in Man of Steel (2013) and other DCEU films for the role of Superman. He revealed his new physique on 3rd February 2019 on social media after months of teasing his transformation into Geralt. The post-workout picture showed him flexing in a Superman pose next to a Superman statue of himself and showed off his noticeably more muscular and shredded physique compared to Superman. His trainer Dave Rienzi praised his physique saying "you've out-muscled yourself" and added "His (Cavill's) choice to take things to the next level is so no small task. His 110% commitment is no joke". Cavill also received praise from Dwayne Johnson (who had originally recommended his trainer Reinzi to Cavill) as well as Phil Heath, Cavill's fitness icon. Cavill had previously noted that he was studying the physiques of classic bodybuilders like Heath while transforming into Geralt and had even shared a picture of himself working out next to a poster of Heath. Heath specially complimented Cavill on his "capped delts" - a reference to an exceptional degree of development in the shoulder muscles which gives them an impressive 3-dimensional popping look. This extent of shoulder development is rarely seen outside the bodybuilding community. Cavill gave all credit to Rienzi for getting him there saying, "All the hard work in the world wouldn't get the results without precision programming Mr. Rienzi. Walking the knife's edge of fat loss and muscle gain has only been possible because of your expert eye. Thank you for getting me here. Looking forward to the next summit now!" He reiterated to Men's Health UK in April 2019 that "I'm in the best shape of my life".
Henry Cavill described his Witcher look as "incredibly shredded as well as scary" and stressed that he worked hard to balance aesthetics with what was appropriate for the character. He described his diet and training program to Spanish outlet Hobby Consolas, "There is a special diet, but I wouldn't call it a "Witchers' diet", I mean, it is what my trainer created for me, so maybe you can call it "Henry's diet". And yes, I'm focused on my training right now, making sure I'm as shredded as possible for The Witcher. I am also making sure I have enough muscle mass to actually look like someone who has gone through all of the hardships as well as the amount of training that Geralt has been through. A real sword is extraordinarily difficult to use for an extended period because of its weight. And if you can imagine that Geralt has been doing it since he was a boy, then to get into his skin, it is really important to bring that to life. I want the character to look incredibly shredded as well as scary. And so, the diet and workout reflect that." Both the teaser as well as the trailer for the series featured a shirtless shot of Cavill showcasing his shredded look.
Henry Cavill will now have two roles in common with Jacek Rozenek : the first is Geralt, whom he'll play here and Rozenek previously voiced in video game series- The second is Superman/Clark Kent, played by Cavill in the DC expanded film universe and dubbed by Rozenek in the Polish localization of the animated series Justice League (2001).
Eamon Farren (Cahir) and Anya Chalotra (Yennefer) will both be seen in the upcoming BBC drama "The ABC Murders (2018)".