‘Had a lot of trouble’ The Witcher showrunner opens up on Ciri filming struggles

The Witcher: Netflix releases tense trailer for series 2

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The Witcher is back for its second season after a two-year wait. The Netflix show is the platform’s biggest fantasy epic, bringing the classic novels and beloved video games to the small screen. Yet, production has had its challenges, with the series’ showrunner opening up about Ciri’s (played by Freya Allan) filming struggles.

While The Witcher’s second season is highly anticipated, the show has had to deal with several issues during its development.

Since season one was released, the production had to cope with the ongoing effects of the pandemic. 

This not only caused delays while filming, but the set had to fully close on more than one occasion.

Thankfully, the team managed to navigate the issues as they have had experience overcoming challenges before.

One of the original, main challenges for any show is casting, especially when adapting a popular source material such as this.

The stars need to reflect their characters from book to screen, have the range to incorporate their personalities into their performances, and of course, have the on-screen chemistry with their co-stars.

This latter issue was vital for Ciri, as she would spend most of the screentime with series lead Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill).

Despite initially struggling to overcome the challenge, they found Freya Allan, the young star that took on the role.

Allan wasn’t the first choice to take on the role though, with series showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich telling Cosmopolitan that the character went through several changes before production.

Hissrich admitted that they “had a lot of trouble finding Ciri,” knowing that the casting was particularly delicate for the young character.

Hissrach explained: “She was originally written as an 11-year-old girl, and we looked and looked and looked, and then we started to think about the production restraints for shooting with a child, basically, and how much it would limit the hours on set.

“And so we started looking older and I just wasn’t finding anyone I liked. And Sophie Holland who’s our casting director said, ‘I want you to look at someone that we’ve already cast’.

“And we had actually cast Freya Allan as a one-episode part named Marilka. She literally … she interacted with Geralt, it was one scene, and then she was done.”

Hissrach then explained that when they called Allan back to try for the part of Ciri, she initially thought she might have lost the part altogether.

“She showed up that day in like a striped t-shirt and baggy jeans, and she was a kid,” Hissrach continued, adding: “And yet she had such soul.

“And we literally read one scene, we thanked her. I’m sure she thought that she had messed everything up. And we cast her that day.”

It seemed she was perfect for the role, proving to be a standout fan-favourite in season one.

From both the books and video games, Ciri becomes one of the most important characters in the series.

The relationship between Ciri and Geralt is essential to the storyline, so her casting had to be perfect.

Fans have similarly loved Cavill’s portrayal of Geralt, as the star has melding elements of the protagonist’s mannerisms from both the books and video games.    

The Witcher season two premieres on December 17 exclusively on Netflix. 

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