The Witcher star Henry Cavill explains he didn’t start using Geralt’s characteristic gravelly toned voice until midway of filming season 1.
Henry Cavill didn’t use his Geralt voice until mid-filming of The Witcher season 1. The Netflix adaptation of the books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski (which also inspired a popular series of video games) was one of the streaming service’s biggest hits when it premiered last year. Cavill plays the titular Witcher in the show, who is also known as Geralt of Rivia.
Geralt has a signature voice that truly helps the audience understand his character. Most of the characters in The Witcher’s universe view Geralt as a monster himself because he is a “Witcher,” or a mutated human bred to kill monsters. As a result, Geralt is a loner who typically rejects any sort of companionship, only opening up in rare instances to the comical bard Jaskier and the powerful witch Yennefer. Season one had three separate timelines that followed Geralt, Yennefer, and a runaway princess named Ciri that Geralt was searching for. Geralt didn’t speak much in the season 1, a decision explained by showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich. However, when he did, it was in a more gravely tone than audiences may have expected.
But, Cavill explained in a recent Variety interview that Geralt’s signature voice almost didn’t happen. The actor said he initially wanted to do a different voice for Geralt but was told to use his normal voice. During one scene, he accidentally slipped into the voice he had imagined for Geralt, which was, “more of a gravel than a whisper [like the video games],” and the rest is history.
“It didn’t feel quite right to me [to use his normal voice.] Almost accidentally…[the Geralt voice] started coming out in a scene and I finished the scene and I thought, ‘I really liked that scene, it felt really good!’ I was watching the rushes later and I thought, ‘Oh no, I did a voice for that whole scene!’ And so I went to Alec [the director] and Lauren [the producer/showrunner] and said, ‘Look, I’ve done this thing, I know we’ve shot some stuff already without it, but I really like it and I think it really brings something. And they said, ‘Let’s go with it.'”
The first season of The Witcher ended on a huge cliffhanger. Geralt finally found Ciri, but also lost Yennefer, who went missing after unleashing her fiery chaos during the Battle of Sodden Hill. There are many reasons why season 1 was such a hit, including exciting moments like that one. However, Henry Cavill’s dedication to portraying Geralt of Rivia correctly was undoubtedly a big factor for the Netflix adaptation bringing in old and new fans alike. The attention paid to Geralt’s voice specifically speaks to Cavill’s commitment to the role. It’s also impressive it was important enough to him to make an alteration partway through filming, one that luckily wasn’t noticeable to viewers.
Cavill’s comments about finding the voice of the character also show how connected he is to Geralt. Based on this and past statements from the actor, he feels proud to be playing a character important to so many who love the books and video games series. Of course, that also comes with a tremendous amount of pressure, which Cavill has faced head on. The fact that he felt comfortable enough with the character to know his normal voice didn’t sound quite right proves his deep understanding of Geralt. As The Witcher gears up to resume production on season 2 in August, Geralt’s signature gravelly toned voice will without a doubt be here to stay.