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Filming In Budapest Proved To Be Brutal For The Witcher Cast

Often, during a movie or show's production, the shooting locations can pose diverse challenges to both the cast and crew. From vigorous winds to pouring rain, to intense heat or biting cold, nature's elements may create many different difficulties while filming.

Netflix's "The Witcher" series, like many expensive fantasy productions, was shot throughout multiple locations — which also changed from season to season. In pre-production, the creators had to think up real-life places that could possibly appear as if they are from another world. Otherwise, the Continent created by Andrzej Sapkowski would just look like a slightly different rendition of our own and thus be unable to immerse the viewer fully.

Some of the locations wherein "The Witcher" was shot, especially in the first season, proved to be quite harsh and taxing on the actors. One of the most grueling places in which the cast of the Netflix show had to film was in the Central European country of Hungary.

Hungary served as the main stage for many locations in "The Witcher" Season 1 – both inside film studios and outdoors, such as in forts and forests. Although Budapest and its outskirts were where the majority of the eight-episode-long first season was shot, part of the cast and crew also traveled to Austria, Poland, and the Canary Islands for some scenes (via The RadioTimes). However, outdoor locations in the series' home base of Budapest proved to be the hardest for the cast to endure.

The Witcher cast relied on hot water bottles to keep them warm

It seemed to be a general consensus amongst the cast that Hungary was by far the worst location to shoot in. In an interview at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Henry Cavill, Freya Allan, and Anya Chalotra, who respectively play Geralt of Rivia, Princess Cirilla, and Yennefer of Vengerberg, were asked about the conditions when filming in Budapest. It was clear from their immediate facial expressions and audible reactions, especially Allan's and Chalotra's, that the time they spent working there was not a piece of cake.

Allan mentioned the cold in particular as being one of the biggest setbacks of the shooting location: "I was always acting in like the snow [in Hungary] and even when we filmed some [scenes] in the Canary Islands, I thought: 'Oh, I'm gonna go and it's going to be warm for once!' But no, it wasn't!" Even there, Allan said she had to take a hot water bottle with her as they were shooting in cold mountainous locations.

Chalotra followed up on what Allan said and described the shooting conditions as "brutal." She also praised the same piece of gear for coming to the rescue, noting "I always had my hot water bottle so it was fine." She then added: "And I think I filmed in every element." 

Indeed, in Season 1, Chalotra was the only one among the main trio who filmed in intense heat, as Yennefer is teleported to a desert where only sand dunes stretch around her as far as the eye could see. But according to Chalotra, shooting in the varying elements and landscapes was all part of the excitement.

The second season was a bit more merciful on the cast as the eight episodes were shot mainly at multiple locations throughout the United Kingdom, due to the COVID-19 pandemic — though that surely presented its own challenges.