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There are plenty of things to talk about when one brings up Henry Cavill's portrayal of Geralt in The Witcher on Netflix. His distaste for a certain musical number, love and respect for his horse, Roach, admiration of a long soak in a hot tub and skill at killing monsters and getting involved in messy political business all certainly come to mind. But, one thing that people couldn't stop talking about when the show debuted was the amount of grunting Geralt did. Well, if you weren't a fan of Geralt's fondness for guttural sounds, you now officially have Cavill to blame for the character's lack of verbiage.
It's true that some people had wonderful feelings when hearing Henry Cavill do all that grunting as Geralt, but showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich confirmed that the lack of dialogue for the lead wasn't in the original plan. If you thought, though, that the switch from talky Geralt to grunter Geralt was all down to Hissrich, you'd be wrong. It seems that Cavill took it upon himself to improvise every single, growly "hmmm" we heard in The Witcher, and is ready to take full credit, or blame, as the case may be.
During a recent interview with BBC Radio 1, Henry Cavill was asked if he got any direction on his Geralt grunting, and owned up to his part in it:
Actually, I think, none of the grunts were in there. All the grunts I either added or didn't say anything and grunted instead. And, it was often up to the other actors to go, 'I think he's not going to say anything now.' So, I think the grunts were often a surprise for anyone who's watching.
Oh, sure, Henry Cavill. It was a surprise, all right. And, for several people it would seem that it was quite a pleasant surprise. But, for fans of the book, where Geralt is quite chatty, the grunt-a-thon may have taken them aback. It turns out that, instead of having all that wordless uttering being written into the script, Cavill just decided to get the grunt party going all on his own. He admits to both replacing silences and actual dialogue with grunts, probably because it felt better for the character, and Lauren Schmidt Hissrich seemed to have agreed with his choices.
It sounds like while Henry Cavill was already tasked with coming up with an accent for Geralt, dehydrating himself to make sure he looked as ripped as possible and nearly blinding himself with those contacts, he also felt that making the character more stoic suited the role better than having Geralt travel around talking everyone's ear off. In case you need a reminder, here's what that sounded like:
I have to say, as someone who doesn't know the books or video games that came before, I can't imagine a scenario where Geralt saying more than a few sentences at a time seems appropriate. But, this is what happens when a popular property gets adapted into another form. Henry Cavill and Lauren Schmidt Hissrich had to make The Witcher their own, and thanks to the gruntification of Geralt, they've done just that.