Netflix’s The Witcher has cast its female leads.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Freya Allan (The War of the Worlds, Into The Badlands) and Anya Chalotra (The ABC Murders, Wanderlust) will play Ciri and Yennefer, respectively, alongside Henry Cavill’s Geralt in the upcoming fantasy series based on Polish author Andrezej Sapkowski’s novels.
Fans of CD Projekt Red’s Witcher video games will require no introduction to either character but for those who aren’t familiar with the series, Ciri is a young princess and Geralt’s ward, while Yennefer is a powerful sorceress and main love interest of Geralt.
The Witcher Cast so far. pic.twitter.com/ZORzEJ1j54
— IBatman (@BotmunTweets) October 10, 2018
In addition to Allan and Chalotra, the following actors have also been cast in the series: Jodhi May (Game of Thrones) as Queen Calanthe; Björn Hlynur Haraldsson (Fortitude) as her husband, the knight Eist; Adam Levy (Knightfall, Snatch) as the druid Mousesack; MyAnna Buring as the head of the magical academy at Aretuza, Tissaia; Mimi Ndiweni and Therica Wilson-Read as novice sorcerers; and Millie Brady as the outcast Princess Renfri.
Netflix’s The Witcher was previously the subject of a fan backlash when it was leaked that the series had a casting notice calling for Black, Asian, and minority ethnic actresses for the role of Ciri, prompting showrunner Lauren Schmidt-Hissrich to take a temporary break from social media. Freya Allan, the actress who was chosen to play Ciri, is Caucasian but Hissrich took the time to speak to THR about the controversy surrounding the casting call:
It boils down to a couple things. One, this property has such a passionate fanbase. I think any leak at all was going to attract this type of attention, and with any attention comes backlash to that attention. I do think that whatever information is trickling out there, there will be people responding positively to it and people responding negatively to it. I think that’s just part of making a television show, and especially a show this big. In terms of why people responded so strongly, I think the fans really have pictures of these characters in their minds and I don’t blame them for that. I get it. When I read my favorite books I certainly imagine characters a certain way. There’s obviously a couple lines of description of Ciri in the books and people become very enamored with their own vision of it. I think coming in as a writer and saying my vision might look different than yours is scary for fans, but truthfully I don’t think it has to be. One of the things I feel most strongly about is people being afraid that we’re going to strip out the cultural context of The Witcher, to remove its Slovak roots, the very thing people in Poland are proud of. That couldn’t be further from the truth. What I’ve always wanted to do is take these Slovak stories and give them a global audience.
The Witcher is expected to release on Netflix sometime in 2019.
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