Anya Chalotra is portraying Yennefer, but will she be able to justify her hiring as the powerful mage?
The Witcher is a beloved property in the gaming circle in the United States and as books by Andrzej Sapkowski in Europe. In any format, the whole series is followed by a large audience, and they care about these characters. So, The Witcher based on the book is coming to Netflix, and like most series, there was much backlash for the series.
From the revelation the series will be a book adaptation to the looks of the actors; the fans criticized everything about this series. The most criticism the series received was from the hiring of the actors and no more so than the hiring of Anya Chalotra to play the beloved character of Yennefer.
Born in 1173, Yennefer was one of the most powerful mages of the continent and also a love interest of the main protagonist, 'Geralt of Rivia'. She is one of the most beloved characters in The Witcher series, and the creators hired a 22-year-old to okay the role which made some fans furious.
Most of the hate from the casting was generated from the age difference between the lead actor Henry Cavill and Anya Chalotra and also the age difference between 'Ciri' and 'Yen'. There are only five years between Ciri and 'Yen', but Ciri is supposed to be the adopted daughter of Anya.
Age difference aside the question arises; can she play the role of Yennefer of Vengerberg and do the character justice?
Yennefer is a difficult character to portray the writer of the books himself said, “When I created Yennefer's character, I wanted Geralt to grow fully, but then I decided to make things complicated. I created a female character who refuses to be a fantasy stereotype. To please the reader.”
Yennefer is not a typical fantasy love interest of the antagonist, she requires someone who can capture the fierceness and the nuances of her character. A person needs to be molded into the role of Yennefer, and in this regard, we think it was an excellent choice to hire an actress who was relatively unknown because now people are without a pre-held believes of how an actress was in her previous film or series. The hiring of new actress gives the writers better chances to expand their stories and range.
Anya Chalotra may seem like a new actress, but she is a theatre veteran who acted in over 13 plays while she was just starting out. She knows how to mold herself into a set of guidelines and a character which is totally new to the world. Anya may not be a well-known commodity, but what little we’ve seen of her in the series 'Wanderlust' and 'The ABC Murders' tells us she knows what she is doing.
The sign of a good actor or actress is when they are scared but at the same time willing to do the work and not let the expectations drown them out. This is also the reason why we love Anya for this particular role and think she is perfect for playing the role of Yennefer. During an appearance at the comic con she was asked how difficult it felt to have so many expectations on the character and the pressure she felt portraying such a character to whom fans got some amount of connection. She said,
I think I definitely had faith [in] those who cast me [...] and in myself that I was right for this part because that was -- whatever I gave to the character was something that they were looking for and wanted to give Yennefer. So I never worried about that, I don't think. But I definitely always, I always looked back at the source material, was making sure that I was staying true to the books because that's something that I really care about.
Anya also talked about how the character in the game is linked to Geralt, and she is part of his quest, but in the series, she is on her own journey. She said, “she discovers her powers and the purpose that that gives her. [...] And also the transformation. Yeah, and the journey of self-discovery she goes on from then on.”
Watch: The trailer for Netflix's The Witcher
Anya loves the source material; she knows there are huge expectations on her shoulder to bring life to the beloved character to life, and she still took the role and did the best she could. We’ve only got trailer and photos at this point as it pertains to her role in the series but as the sizzle reel at the comic con with Yennefer and a dead little girl is evidence Anya knows what she is doing. We trust she can do the character justice and bring life to a character which only lived in games and pages of books before the Netflix series.