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Already a Witcher fan, the lead role in the Netflix series came easy to Henry Cavill

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WITCHER STAR Henry Cavill talks about his love of fantasy during a Netflix press conference at the Conrad Hotel on Dec. 12.

A SUPER MAN landed in the country last week when Henry Cavill — known for playing Superman — flew to the country to promote his latest project, an upcoming web TV series by Netflix based on fantasy series The Witcher. The first episode airs on Dec. 20 on Netflix.

Mr. Cavill will play the title character, Geralt of Rivia, a mercenary monster slayer who, in the process of gaining his magical powers, loses all pigmentation, thus being pale and having white hair. The original book series that is based on plays out over The Continent in an eight novel-long saga beginning in the 1990s. It began as a series of award-winning short stories by author Andrzej Sapkowski (who worked in sales).

“I was, yes,” answered Mr. Cavill when asked if he was a fan of the series prior to working as its title character. He said that he met the character through the video games adapted from the book. “I’m a big PC gamer; I’ve been gaming since I was a boy,” he told the press on Dec. 12 at the Conrad Manila in Pasay City, just before a fan meet at Ayala Mall Manila Bay.

“I’ve been a fan of the fantasy genre since I was a boy, and my father would read to me before I could read, and it was always fantasy genre books,” said Mr. Cavill. “Every book I have ever picked up to read just for the sake of reading… in my free time, has often than not been part of the fantasy genre.”

Mr. Cavill is best known for playing Superman, beginning in 2013 with Man of Steel, then Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016, and Justice League in 2017. He also starred in spy films Man from U.N.C.L.E. in 2015 and Mission:Impossible — Fallout in 2018. In television, Mr. Cavill hit worldwide fame with The Tudors, starring as Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. Cheers and giggles greeted Mr. Cavill’s every answer, not surprising considering that he was 2013’s World’s Sexiest Man according to Glamour magazine, and the third out of a hundred Sexiest Movie Stars in 2013.

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Considering his extensive portfolio, Mr. Cavill was asked how he got this particular role. He said that he called his agents repeatedly to get him an audition, until finally, his agents did make the call, telling the people behind the show, “You’ve got to meet this guy. Otherwise, he’s going to turn up at the door.”

In any case, Lauren Hissrich, The Witcher’s executive producer and showrunner said that while she was writing the scripts, “I always had Henry’s voice in my head” — this after saying that she met more than 200 actors to cast the role. “A terrifying prospect,” then joked Mr. Cavill.

Ms. Hissrich has been behind the shows Parenthood, Do No Harm, Private Practice, Daredevil, The Defenders, and The Umbrella Academy.

The show was shot in Hungary, Austria, Poland, and the Canary Islands. When asked how he prepared for the role, Mr. Cavill said that since he was a fan of the genre and the series, “The preparation for me, for Geralt, was a little bit in-built,” he said. “All happened quite naturally, internally speaking.”

Asked about his powers on the show, Mr. Cavill talked about casting spells, and physical strength, and weapons prowess, but he said, “I think Geralt’s true secret power is his ability to love, and his belief in the world.”

Mr. Cavill later appeared at a fan meet-and-greet, where wide-eyed gaming fans had him sign their copies of The Witcher video games, which he gamely did, for what some said was a walk lasting more than an hour. News reports later came in of him appearing in Manila restaurants and charming everybody who saw him. — J.L. Garcia

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