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The Real Reason Anya Chalotra Declined A Body Double In The Witcher

Whether it's HBO's "Game of Thrones" or the box-office hit "Spider-Man: No Way Home," these high-action projects often feature stunt doubles to take on the burden of the more intense, dangerous scenes. However, the leads of Netflix's "The Witcher" often prefer to film the hardest segments themselves.

For example, as Geralt of Rivia, who finds himself battling everything from a vicious Striga to monstrous nekkers, Henry Cavill prefers to do the tough work himself (via Variety). "If an audience is watching Geralt on-screen, they must believe that it is me," he said. "If it's not me, I feel like I've betrayed the character in some way, and so I try and do as much as a production will let me."

When Geralt isn't fighting a variety of creatures, he's struggling with his feelings toward Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra), a deformed sorceress sold by her father to Tissaia de Vries (MyAnna Buring), who trains her in the art of magic. After years of hating her twisted spine and crooked face, Yennefer trades her reproductive organs for beauty and embraces her powers.

In "The Witcher" Season 1, audiences watch as 30 years pass, but Yennefer doesn't age. It's at this time that she and Geralt cross paths and enjoy a passionate moment together in the crumbling remains of a tavern, destroyed by the genie-like djinn. Though a body double was on set, ready to step in for Yennefer's nude scene with Geralt, Chalotra thought it best if she appeared herself.

She didn't feel comfortable having someone else portray Yennefer

In an earlier episode, prior to Yennefer's stunning transformation, she sleeps with sorcerer Istredd (Royce Pierreson) as a fictitious audience looks on. A body double was used, but Chalotra didn't like sitting on the sidelines (via Metro).

"I only used her for the first sex scene because I realized very quickly in that first sex scene that actually, I didn't feel comfortable anyone else portraying Yennefer, because it's still acting, isn't it?," said Chalotra, adding that she only filmed the close-up shots between Yennefer and Istredd.

Following this revelation, the creative team of "The Witcher" worked with Chalotra to ensure her comfort. Additionally, her nudity was limited to the transformation scene and others that were integral to the show's narrative.

On Reddit, u/Kallelinski praised Chalotra for her dedication to the role. They wrote, "She is Yennefer, not someone else ... She said several times that this role has changed her life and you can see that she really wants to play Yennefer and do her justice." u/HengroenAndLlamrei added that Yennefer's nude scenes are not "gratuitous," but rather an integral part of the character. "When she was able to become beautiful, she turned that into a weapon and a shield," they noted. "She proudly displayed her beauty, her nudity. She used it to her advantage."