Henry is featured in this month’s issue of GQ Spain! I’m glad we were blessed with a pretty photoshoot before the year ends. He mainly discussed the new season of The Witcher, but he also talked about his other upcoming projects such as the Enola Holmes sequel, the Highlander reboot (which is referred to as The Immortals in this interview), a possible return as Superman, and much more. The interview is originally in Spanish, so I let Google Translate do the work in this English version. If there’s any mistranslation, just let me know! Also check out outtakes and scans in our gallery!
Let’s cut to the chase: The first season of The Witcher, starring Henry Cavill, is the fifth series with the longest viewing time in Netflix history : 541 million hours of playback worldwide during the first 28 days. And it is the second most popular shot in English. We are not talking about a minor series, we are talking about one of the great ones.
It is not difficult to understand, then, that the second season , which will be released during the month of December, has generated an expectation as unusual as it is deserved . And there is its protagonist, Henry Cavill , having tea on the terrace of a hotel in Miami. Confident, smiling. The day is hot but not sunny and the pool is empty despite being midsummer, but the actor seems calm. Maybe too much? Come on Henry, you’re riding a dragon!
“Success is always a good thing,” he tells GQ Spain exclusively. “It’s always a good thing because it means there are more eyes on the project and surely, although I don’t know it officially, more time, more effort and more money will go into production if it is popular. So it’s always a good thing. . As long as the entertainment works, it is positive . Precisely what we try to do is entertain people! ” The Witcher, based on the book series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski , is a fantasy drama – a bit dark – that centers on Cavill’s character, Geralt of Rivia , a monster hunter who finds his destiny in the form of a princess . But that’s just the beginning, things get complicated. There is love, there is magic, there is death.
GQ: How are you feeling? How have you spent these strange months? I imagine it has been hard for everyone.
Henry Cavill: I feel fine. It has been difficult times and months for many people, for many of us, and what I try, now that we come out of it, is to apply the lessons that I have learned during this time that I have thought so much. I think it’s an opportunity, it’s always good to look for opportunities even in bad times. The opportunity to think about things, about life, about what I want from her, about what I want to do with her… has been something like the good side of all this.
Has this whole situation of the pandemic affected the filming of the second season of The Witcher?
Has affected, yes. We had to stop. We stopped first once and then again around Christmas because in the UK there was a sharp increase in cases after Christmas. When we came back after that, we had to get tested every day. It was hard to get used to it, but I’m glad we did it like this. Netflix took great care of us. I think it was important that we all get tested. I think the hardest thing on set, one of the big differences, was the difficult context. Everyone worked long hours, wearing masks, wearing glasses … Everything becomes a little more impersonal, and when you’ve been shooting for months and months, everyone is tired. It is difficult to perceive the nuances of the people. It was one of the most complicated aspects, among many.
But the result is incredible. I have seen the first episode and it has a lot of force, it is very explicit, very gore. What can we expect from the rest of the season?
There are many surprises for the rest of the season. It is largely Lauren’s (Schmidt, the creator) version of the story, she has turned her own vision to the source material. There is a lot of the original story there. Even fans who know the books top to bottom will find many unexpected twists and turns. Follow the three usual characters, Cirilla, Yennefer and Geralt, in their different plots. I do not want to reveal more because there is much of the original story there, and I do not want to give too many clues or change anything.
How was the process of creating your character? You had a lot of different references: the script, the novel, the video games… Was it a mix of everything?
Obviously, with the plot set, with Lauren guiding us through the season, there is a framework to work within. But I wanted to bring the Geralt from the book into the series as much as possible. For season two, I wanted to make him more bombastic, more intellectual, someone with a more philosophical bent, someone wiser, because Geralt is between 70 and 90 years old. In season one, I made a deliberate decision to talk less, to show what Geralt is like in the outside world, his interactions with strangers. I understood that a man who talks less and observes more could better capture Geralt’s intellectual nature, but now that he is in a personal context, that he has his Witcher brothers, that he has spent more time with Cirilla, he really wanted to show his more intellectual side. , the one of the wise man.
Let’s go back to the numbers. With the success of the first season, are you worried about the critics?
Of course. I think criticism is very important … but it depends. Sometimes there are critics who are not fans of the genre, who do not like science fiction or fantasy … When there is a particularly negative criticism you may think: “Well, this is not a fan of the genre”, but there is always important information there . I read all the reviews, all the internet forums, and I try to learn as much as possible. You have to accept everything, the good and the bad, but it is in the middle of both that you can learn the most, and I think that is important.
I think you are a fan of video games. What are you hooked on now?
I play a lot of retro games, it’s like going back to my childhood . The game that I am hooked on, and that I always have on hand, is Total War: Warhammer II , the computer game. I am looking forward to playing Warhammer III.
Speaking of future projects, I think you are still in Enola Holmes and also in the reboot of The Immortals , a mythical film. It’s crazy.
If you are a fan of retro video games, you are obviously a fan of The Immortals . I’m really excited to be a part of that, to be able to work with such rich material and to be on the project from the beginning, and to be able to work with [the film’s director] Chad Stahelski and the kind of narrative that he does. I am impatient, it is a very exciting project. I think Chad and I can do something very special with history.
In Spain it is a cult film.
It is a cult movie everywhere. The original had its flaws, of course, but it was a powerful story with great power. And the Queen song was fantastic. As I said, the prospect of delving into the idea of The Immortals is wonderful and exciting , how they live, how they interact with each other, and all the exciting plots that can come out of there.
[Suddenly a dog appears in the room. He wiggles a bit in front of Henry, passes behind the chair he’s sitting in, goes through a curtain, and sits down. He doesn’t pay much attention to me.]
I see a dog behind you. Is it your dog?
There is no dog, what are you talking about [laughs]. Yes, he is my dog, his name is Kal, he has traveled with me for the last eight years.
You are also a benchmark in the field of sport and fitness. And I think it helped you a lot when you were a kid. What would you say to a boy who has problems at school? How do you think sport can help young people?
I think it is something relative, it depends on the circumstances and the situation. I think that sport and physical exercise is something very important, now we know much more about it, about the importance of good health. But each has different capabilities. Some are born athletes and others are not, but I think that the environment of a team, and simply the act of exercising, putting your body to work, is something wonderful for young people. I believe that team spirit, especially, is paramount, and learning about the importance of being there for your team, not just as an individual, but as part of a group.
Speaking again of this whole situation, the pandemic has changed the way series and movies are released, especially movies. What do you think about it? Has the context completely changed forever or do you think that everything will return to a certain normalcy and that we will return to theaters again?
It’s hard to say that things will go back to the way they were before. I love the movie theater experience and I hope we get to a point where the movie theater experience is even better than it was before, and I think that’s what the brightest minds are at work right now. Once we’ve gotten through all of this, I’m looking forward to going back to the movies and enjoying movies on the big screen. It’s something that I love.
Do you think the universe of The Witcher will expand , perhaps in movies or spin-offs?
I am sure it will be possible. I can’t talk about it right now, they tell me that’s above my responsibilities so we’ll have to wait and see. We have to be patient.
Excuse the question, but I’m dying to know if it’s true that you went to see your nephew dressed as Superman.
Hahaha! I think it is a mixture of two stories. My nephews knew I was Superman , I think it was during the making of Man of Steel , and they were very proud of course. At that time they were going to school, and one of them did it dressed as Superman. The teacher asked him why he wasn’t wearing the uniform, and he replied ‘because my uncle is Superman’. By lying you can get into trouble, and the teacher said “your uncle is not Superman, do not talk nonsense.” So when my sister-in-law went to pick him up at school, the teacher told her the story, obviously, and she clarified: “Actually, his uncle is Superman, but I’m sorry, from now on we will make sure that he comes to school. With the uniform”.
Will we see Superman in the future, in your projects?
I always wish there were more Superman, of course. I love that we tell the Superman stories , and I think there is great potential to do so. Again, we must be patient.
What do you think about the e-games phenomenon ? The Witcher is also a video game, and there is an emerging entertainment industry right now. What do you think about it?
The truth is that I have not experimented with the world of e-gaming . I understand that it is a great industry that moves a lot of money. It is becoming something as important as sport, perhaps greater in some cases, because it has the advantage that you can be seen all over the world. I don’t know enough about it to comment. I think there are a lot of fans who are enthusiastic about the subject. What do you think about it?
I’m not very into these things, I’m an old school guy. But I find it interesting when it comes to business and the entertainment industry. We have to be aware of it because it is something important.
I think it is very important that we pay attention, that we are aware of the players who compete in it, because I know, as a sporadic computer gamer, that I can stay awake playing many hours, and it is exhausting. If it’s going to become truly competitive, staring at the screen for so many hours will be absolutely exhausting. I think that the players have to be very careful and that you have to make sure that everyone is doing it in a healthy way and at the same time having a good time.
Have you been in Spain?
I was in Spain, yes, during the filming of a movie called The Cold Light of Day . I really enjoyed it, I would like to go back.
You have a lot of fans here. Every time we publish something of yours on our website, we peta it.
Thanks a lot. Now I will have to return, as a form of gratitude.