Everyone can bitch all they want about Yennefer’s far more model look and all the race-bending in the new Netflix The Witcher series, but they are all ignoring the real visual problem with the adaptation.
Henry Cavill is too pretty to play Geralt and it’s awful.
Let’s back-trek. By no means am I saying that Geralt of Riviera is an ugly man. Absolutely not. He’s rugged and stoic and a fantasy hero, so obviously he’d charm the pants off of a lot of people. However, no one ever looked at him and thought, “why yes, he looks like he could pass as Prince Charming.”
Absolutely not. Every charming man doesn’t have a a crown and a Disney movie to go with him. There are even dozens of jokes in The Witcher 3 about him not looking anything like a regal prince. Whenever he puts on noble clothes, the game makes a huge deal about the fact he looks absolutely ridiculous and wrong in them. He’s got sharp angles on his face, scars, a perma-scowl (resting bitch face, if you will). His voice is gravelly and low, he’s got unruly hair, he is the epitome of a hunter, a man of the wilds. Geralt is nowhere near pretty prince status.
But then Netflix cast Henry Cavill to play him.
Henry Cavill could believably star in his own Disney film tomorrow, he’s so pretty. He doesn’t fit the same grumpy ruggedness of Geralt at all. Even if he can get grumpy enough, his face doesn’t do it that well.
Now let’s talk about his career. He’s best known for playing Superman in the recent DC film franchise. His acting has been questionable in the past, but with Supes being the strong-jawed and handsome good guy he is, Cavill is a decent fit. However, he’s also done commendable work in the last Mission: Impossible, playing a villain. The problem is, though, his tougher look only passed because of the thick mustache and how hard Cavill must have worked to practice tilting his chin down and giving endless angry eyes.
But that didn‘t make him any less pretty of a human being!
Now mind you, there is nothing wrong with a man being pretty. Henry Cavill is an objectively handsome dude that does deserve all the drooling and praise he gets. No one is trying to argue here that he is ugly or weak or whatever. He can still also beat someone’s face in. The man remains a completely ripped and intimidating action star. It’s just, only his body is intimidating. His face looks like it’s about to pop some crazy blonde hair and go full, wholesome All-Might any second.
The true core of the issue is the fact that Geralt isn’t supposed to be pretty. He never has been. His appeal was always the rugged, time-worn Witcher. In better terms, perhaps, Cavill just looks too perfect as a human to play Geralt. Break his nose three more times or rough up his face skin or make his facial hair more an absolutely, mangy mess.
Geralt is a generally bitter, sourpuss of a man. He can have fun and he can banter with people, but he’s got that kind of Han Solo bite to him of seeing too much shit and losing some semblance of hope in this world.
Henry Cavill, baseline, always looks a bit like someone who dreams of a better universe. No matter anyone’s opinion on his DC movie work, he looks like a Superman type. He’s the All-Might, the Supes, the guy who plays the president and has to give a rousing speech. He’s charismatic and affable and likable just in the way he looks, a way Geralt never is. Geralt spooks people just by glancing at them.
If this Netflix Geralt tries to give a wholesome, rousing speech I may vomit.
I get that this is a younger Geralt that they’re starting with since they’re going back to the beginning of his story. I get I’m biased because I’ve only experienced a bunch of The Witcher 3. And I know typecasting and profiling is rude and puts actors in boxes. However, I think Henry Cavill is just not the right choice. Too late to change that now, obviously, but the statement stands.
Ever since I saw the “Witch Hunter Gary” meme on Reddit, the knock-off Witcher costumes at party stores, I can’t get it out of my head every time I think of this casting. Because that’s exactly it. Henry Cavill may not act the part terribly. Hell, who knows, he maybe even will impress me. But I can’t stop picturing him as Witch Hunter Gary, the softer, lamer version of Geralt.
And that, in itself, is pretty lame.
Much more upsetting than the century old witch who can make herself look like anything, looking a little too soft and princess-y. But who knows, maybe it’s all just a conspiracy to turn Geralt and Yennefer to a pair of Disney royals. Both their acting choices definitely look the part.