Last week, Henry flew to Manila, Philippines to promote The Witcher, and Inquirer Entertainment had a one-on-one chat with him. Check out an excerpt below and the full interview at their website. I have also added some outtakes into the gallery!
You’re a gamer. Does that inform your performance as monster slayer Geralt of Rivia, the Butcher of Blaviken, in “The Witcher”?
It would be impossible to say that it doesn’t inform my portrayal in the series. Because there’s a huge influence that that experience had on me. I mean, I played the game for hundreds of hours (laughs). And so, there will always be an influence in one way, shape or form.
It’s about me making sure my target is realized. And that is to make Geralt as accurate to the books as possible, and as enjoyable for people like myself and “The Witcher’s” fans, as well. That was always my goal. I wanted to make Geralt the character who I experienced and continue to experience [as an avid gaming enthusiast].
In what way do you channel Geralt’s brooding demeanor? Are you as dark in person, because we mostly associate you with Superman and the other larger-than-life characters you portray?
I think everyone has some darkness in them. As an actor, it’s about accessing those different parts of your personality that are required for the role. With Geralt, it’s not necessarily his darkness that’s interesting, it’s more his stone-cold exterior and indifference.
When you see him commit what some people would call atrocities, he’s actually not doing it out of darkness. That’s what is interesting about the character, his intentions always come from the light, not from his dark side—not like August Walker [in “Mission: Impossible”].
In fact, even August Walker’s intentions were [good], but he was just willing to do some terrible things to achieve them—which made them dark! Whereas Geralt, his actions are always intended to do something good. It’s just unfortunate that the path he takes tends to shine a dark light upon his actions.
There’s some fine singing in “The Witcher,” which helps leaven the doom and gloom of the material. It somehow brightens all that dark brooding. Didn’t you want to sing in it, too? We know that you played Sonny in “Grease” when you were in school.
Absolutely, the music here is fantastic. But that’s actually a wonderful reflection of “The Witcher’s” world. The bard Jaskier (Joey Batey) is such a fantastic character because he does seem to work as contrast to all of the show’s darkness, grim politics and harsh realities.
But as far as having Geralt do some singing, he really isn’t much of a performer. Would he ever sing? It would be difficult to sing in that gruff and brooding voice, I think. No, he hasn’t got much of a singing voice (laughs).