Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The On-Set Injury Anya Chalotra Suffered While Filming The Witcher

Based on the dynamic books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski — as well as the series' spin-off video games — "The Witcher" premiered on Netflix in December 2019. Translating the story from book to video game to screen took incredible attention to detail, and the showrunners put enormous effort into executing their vision. The monsters look believable and threatening, the special effects are high quality (including some well-choreographed fight sequences), and the costume design really elevates the high fantasy setting. For the sharp-eyed fan, there are also plenty of small details in "The Witcher" that pay homage to the story's origins.

The series weaves a spellbinding tale about magic, bravery, and the merciless advance of fate. Henry Cavill was never the same after filming Season 1 of "The Witcher," and neither was the audience — they streamed it for over half a billion hours within the first 28 days of its release (per Variety). Cavill does a fantastic job of bringing Geralt of Rivia to life, but we would be remiss if we didn't mention the talents of actress Anya Chalotra, who portrays Yennefer of Vengerberg. 

Yennefer is a fascinating character, and her complex relationship with Geralt lies at the heart of the story. Yennefer, Geralt, and Ciri (Freya Allan) are bound together by destiny — whether they like it or not — and part of the fun is waiting for their paths to intersect. As a purveyor of magic, Yennefer is shown to be one of the most powerful characters on the show, but the dramatic physical transformation she undergoes in the first season didn't come without its challenges for the actress playing her.

Anya Chalotra wore a troublesome mouthguard when playing young Yennefer

Yennefer starts off in a very different place than where she ends up by the final episode of the season. Early in Season 1, it's revealed that she faced cruelty and ridicule in her youth due to the fact that she's part-elf and has a visible congenital disability, which she later asks enchanter Giltine (Julian Rhind-Tutt) to change with magic. Anya Chalotra plays Yennefer in every stage of her life, from young adulthood through her many years studying magic and beyond. However, portraying some aspects of Yennefer's life before she discovered magic posed a challenge for Chalotra. Prior to her magical metamorphosis, Yennefer's physical issues meant that certain scenes required the actress to wear cumbersome prosthetics around her back and mouth.

"The mouthguard was difficult because I would get ulcers and I would have to speak using very hard material," Chalotra explained in an interview with Decider. "But other than the pains of wearing it, it really did help. It changed my physicality. I looked at the floor more, and I became more insecure as a result. That only ever helped the place Yennefer was at in her life anyway."

Considering how impactful Yennefer's early scenes are, it's impressive that Chalotra was able to push through the discomfort to complete them. Yennefer has a complicated past and the show has only begun to skim the surface of her story, but Chalotra's performance has laid a strong foundation for future seasons.