One of the things that impresses me most about Henry Cavill’s performance in The Witcher is the way he captures the essence of Geralt’s voice as we came to know and love it over a few hundred hours of videogames. It’s not a copy of voice actor Doug Cockle’s work, but “clearly inspired” by it—and it works.
In an interview during today’s WitcherCon, Cavill said that on-screen voice almost didn’t come to be. During auditions, he asked showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich if he should put a little Geralt-like rasp in his voice, but Hissrich told him to stick with his own natural voice. “I was like, okay. Okay, cool,” Cavill said.
But while filming a scene between Geralt and King Foltest in the show’s third episode, Cavill apparently just forgot.
“I didn’t do that intentionally. That happened by accident,” he explained during the interview. “And then afterwards I was like, ‘Oh my god, I just played a whole scene in the wrong voice’.”
Afterward, however, Cavill decided he actually preferred that take on Geralt’s speech, saying that it “made a lot of things sit better when it came to delivery of certain lines, and delivery of certain dialog.”
“I know it’s very similar to Doug Cockle’s amazing work,” Cavill said. “That was definitely a concern. I don’t want to seem like I’m plagiarizing another professional’s extraordinary work. I had a look at it, had a listen to it, and I thought, actually they are different enough. It’s clearly inspired by—but I did my own thing, and then I spoke to Alec and I spoke to Lauren, and they both said, ‘It’s okay, actually, if you want to do that, we can go with that, and we’ll redo the rest.”
Cavill said the production team ended up doing quite a few reshoots anyway, so getting Geralt’s “natural” voice in throughout the season wasn’t a big deal.
Interestingly, he also said that it’s not at all difficult to maintain that gravelly speaking style. “It sounds like it is, but it’s about just finding that—in season 1 I was still trying to find it, and you can definitely tell when I have,” he said. “But in season 2, it’s not difficult to do at all. It’s actually quite easy.”