Actor Henry Cavill, known for his roles of Superman and witcher Geralt, is seriously fond of games. Moreover, it’s not only popular online shooters that he likes (although he likes to play Overwatch as Symmetra) but also classics such as Half-Life, Delta Force, The Witcher, World of Warcraft, and others. It was his fan love of The Witcher that made his Geralt so convincing — the actor tried to reproduce the character as close to the lore as possible. But first things first.
Cavill’s father was fond of games too, and his children inherited the passion. At some point, Henry, together with his father and four brothers, turned the dining table into a gaming space, much to his mother’s dismay. They created a local network of 4 or 5 computers, and PC-gaming became part and parcel of his childhood. He recalls with affection how he played Delta Force with his brothers — it’s a series of tactical shooters where you need to destroy the enemy’s military equipment, release hostages, and intercept control over nuclear warheads. Delta Force gives its players is a lot of leeway, so the tactics can be easily adjusted for your particular play style. The brothers played endlessly together. Henry’s younger brother would kill the older, a military man, to Henry’s great disappointment. But at some point, everything changed, and the younger brother would get killed at the earliest opportunity.
Cavill believes The Witcher 3 is an insanely exciting game. While playing it, he was constantly thinking about what kind of film or TV show could be made out of it. The Witcher 3 has a very interesting plot with dramatic and joyful moments and unexpected twists, and even routine quests are so detailed that you want to read every note. That’s why some even want to live in the world of The Witcher — especially escapists like Cavill. He confessed that games are his way of escaping from reality and that this started in his childhood, long before his popularity. As a gamer, Henry is no different from an ordinary man: he sits in front of his monitor with a pack of chips, wearing sweatpants — not every day, of course, but he can afford to relax a little. He spends a lot of time in games, running away from reality to fictional worlds.
КWhen Cavill got the news that Netflix was going to adapt The Witcher, he started to overwhelm his agents with tasks — they kept him on top of things all the time, but that wasn’t enough for him. He was always asking them: “What else do you know? Call them again.” This persistence worked out — but Netflix only hired a showrunner, so they couldn’t give a specific reply. But they already knew who was ready to take on the role. “I learned about these games, and then I learned about the books — and the universe of The Witcher began to mean so much to me right away. I didn’t even have to prepare for the role because I live and breathe in this universe every day.”
The Netflix adaptation is based primarily on books, because game adaptations tend to disappoint those familiar with the original — remember any movie by Uwe Ball and cry in pain. But The Witcher, according to Henry, relies chiefly on one character — Geralt of Rivia. He took the filming as seriously as possible because of his fan love of The Witcher‘s lore.
“I wanted to get as close to the lore as possible. To me, this is a way to show my love for my character in the show. As a fan, I want to protect him. It would be painful to me to hear there’s a show that I wasn’t part of and someone had a unique, perhaps even a brilliant interpretation of Geralt — but not the one I envision as a fan.”
He also insisted that there should be more witcher signs in the show — Geralt from the books doesn’t use them all that often (or it’s not always described), but as for the games, the signs are essential. To play the third Witcher without, for example, the protective sign Quen, which blocks the first blow from the enemy, would be extremely difficult.
When using this sign, it’s easy to cope with a crowd of fast and sharp drowners or with a slow and awkward boss alike. Despite the high costs associated with computer graphics, Henry wanted to promote the idea with signs so that the audience far from both books and games learns what the witcher is capable of. For him, it was very important — the actor thinks this is a crucial part of a witcher’s life. No less important part is the overcoming of prejudice.
In the universe, witchers are hated because they are not human but mutants — as children, Geralt, and other witchers were subjected to mutations that improve reaction. That’s why many people think Geralt is a freak and monster, and Cavill believes showing this bias is important: “Geralt believes in something because this is his way to survive in this world. And that belief is distorted, it turns into something else, something completely different.
Deep down in his heart, Geralt is a knight in shining armor. But he can be incredibly cold and do what is necessary. He’s not just a guy who always does the right thing. He’s made mistakes, and they were at times bloody and cruel. Geralt is not a utopian character at all, but he is the best person you can meet in this very, very cruel world.”
The actor loves not only The Witcher. He is a fan of Total War: Warhammer II, which he’s beaten six times. Henry totally digs the gameplay where you can build an empire and think about the strategy — he describes the emotions from the game with a truly childish delight. “Total War games are probably my favorite because I play them all the time, and I replay them as much as I want. And every time, it’s like it’s the first time.”
On August 27, 2019, Blizzard launched World of Warcraft Classic. Guess who immediately started posting Instagram stories about it? That’s right. Another story is associated with Warcraft, and Henry recalls this story with a smile. After the premiere of Batman v Superman, he was asked how he received this role. The actor missed the first call from Zack Snyder, because he had got carried away by World of Warcraft. Going to the dungeon with friends is more important to him than answering the phone — this is how confident, adult men should prioritize.