The Witcher's Anya Chalotra Explains the Source of Yennefer's Power

We're rolling out sneak peeks for Netflix's The Witcher all month long as part of our IGN First exclusive set visit. Keep it locked right here for never-before-seen interviews and behind the scenes footage of the White Wolf, Ciri, and Yennefer. And be sure to check out The Witcher when it premieres on Netflix on Friday, December 20, 2019.

On a chilly afternoon back in April 2019, we were driven to a remote location about 45 minutes outside of downtown Budapest on our second day visiting the set of Netflix's The Witcher. The site was located on a stretch of lush green land surrounded by rolling hills and old ruins, which served as the backdrop for an action-packed sequence involving the powerful sorceress, Yennefer of Vengerberg.On her way to where the cameras were positioned for the day's shoot, actress Anya Chalotra emerged from a production tent wearing Yennefer's signature black robes and a determined expression that felt appropriate for one of the most powerful sorceresses on the Continent. In short, she looked like an absolute badass, but if you're familiar with Yennefer's backstory, you know that she wasn't always so confident. For a special look at Chalotra in action on set, be sure to watch the video below or at the top of the page, which reveals some of the scenes we saw being filmed that day.Loading"When we meet her [in the books] she’s so so fully formed and she's so powerful and so beautiful, and seems to have everything on her side," Witcher showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich told IGN. "I wanted to start with all of the messy stuff that she has before she has her transformation. I just really wanted to trouble that character a little bit." All of that "messy stuff" is centered around Yennefer's childhood.Before mastering the magical arts, Yennefer had a dual abnormality resulting in a deformed spine and a misshapen jaw. "Taken straight from the books is her hunchback," Hissrich explained. "She has a deformity that Geralt intuits later when they meet. [But] she doesn’t really get into talking about what that was like in life and how she felt about her deformity.”Physical appearance aside, Chalotra told us that she loves playing Yennefer because "she’s got a huge heart, she’s witty, intelligent, sexy… she's epic.” As the sun began to set behind the hills to the west, Chalotra was still in costume going through the paces of the scene she was about to shoot as extras, cameramen, and lighting crews quickly transformed the daytime scene into a moonlit set with the help of massive lights that hung high above the cast and crew.The Witcher: Season 1 GalleryWe also noticed Cavill's Geralt of Rivia was nowhere to be found, even though we just saw him filming the day before. Unfortunately, our Netflix guides informed us that Cavill was not scheduled to shoot that particular day. If you've read the books or even played the video games, you'll know that Geralt and Yennefer have a pretty dynamic relationship, which we can't wait to see more of when the show premieres.When we did get a chance to chat with Cavill about Geralt's relationship with Yennefer, he told us that it's complicated and difficult to describe. "They’ve both been hurt before, Cavill told us. "They've both lived a life and live in a world that’s a lot harsher than people may want to believe. It’s a love/hate relationship.”For more from Anya Chalotra as Yennefer, be sure to watch the full interview at the top of the page and tune in all month for more exclusive IGN First coverage of Netflix's The Witcher.
Find out how Henry Cavill found Geralt's voice for Netflix's The Witcher in the video below:Loading

David Griffin still watches DuckTales in his pajamas with a cereal bowl in hand. He's also the TV Editor for IGN. Say hi on Twitter.

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