Henry Cavill doesn’t play a character from a popular gaming franchise in Netflix’s The Witcher merely because it’s a challenging role. No, the Superman actor is a gamer in real life and so much so, playing a PC game is what he’d rather do when he goes home than be out and about.
Cavill revealed to GQ that gaming is his primary and preferred mode of escape from fame and prying eyes which makes him more self-conscious, he said:
“Every time I step out my front door, I’m hyper aware. Even if I’m not looking terrible, you still realise there are people taking sneaky photos of you, because that’s what people like to do. And then they put them on the internet and you see them on Instagram and you’re like, ‘Oh, my god.’”
“At home, I get to sit playing games for ridiculous amounts of hours and escape there, because going outside has the opposite effect,” he added after a groan.
One of his favorite games is Warhammer, specifically Total War: Warhammer II. GQ noted Cavill has “played it through six times” and “with six different races” each time. That amounts to hundreds of gameplay hours and he never got tired of it.
His first experience with The Witcher games was the 100-hour RPG Witcher 3. He played it “two-and-a-half times to completion” on varying difficulties, which is another few hundred hours of play, desiring the right “balance of fun and challenge.”
Interestingly, Cavill recalled he was so into the game that making mistakes stressed him out:
“It’s all well and good when you’re trying not to stress out but then I realised I wasn’t chilling out. I just ended up dying at the wrong points and thinking, ‘I should not have left the roads. I don’t know why I left the roads.’ I couldn’t run away fast enough or my attention span dropped for a second or I answered a text and now I’m dead and that’s six or seven hours of gameplay that I’ve just messed up.”
Pursuing the role of Geralt, he didn’t know the books by Andrzej Sapkowski came first, but Cavill stated he read and loved them all after meeting with show creator Lauren Schmidt Hissrich. He added staying “true to the lore” of the source material meant a lot to him:
“I want to do it as true to the lore as possible. For me it was about bringing my love for the character to the show, as a fan – I want to protect it. It would’ve hurt my heart to hear there was a show that I didn’t jump on, [especially] if someone else had a unique and perhaps even brilliant interpretation of Geralt, but one not who I, as a fan, sees.”
Geralt is the difference-maker Cavill sees in The Witcher. It contrasts other games and fantasy series due to a “fleshed-out” main character in Cavill’s estimation:
“It’s based on a fleshed-out character. Yes, you make decisions in the game, but it’s fairly unique within the gaming world. There’s a bit more of a character here.”
The Witcher is currently streaming on Netflix.