We had the privilege of being part of the roundtable interviews for Netflix’s The Witcher at San Diego Comic- Con. Part one of our interviews with the people behind the highly anticipated series was with Showrunner Lauren S Hissrich and now we had the chance to talk with Freya Allan who takes on the role of Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon aka Ciri:
Q: Did you have to learn any foreign languages or Elder Speech for the role of Ciri?
Freya: Thank goodness, I didn’t no. I did not envy the dryads at all.
Q: This character is this royal noble young girl, but she also has all this hidden power within her fighting its way to the surface. Was that interesting for you to find the center of this character that has all of these abilities?
Freya: Yeah, what was interesting about it is that you can see her going from the life she has led for 14 years she’s existed very sheltered and protected, incredibly naïve, and then there’s a huge shift where she suddenly discovers within a matter of seconds so many different things that its overwhelming and it was very interesting to explore her power and her navigate the truths of her past that had been totally hidden from her, her whole life
Q: How did you prepare yourself for this role?
Freya: the minute I found out, I bought blood of elves, read that in 2 days, and that gave me a real essence of story. I also relied on scripts, and straight from the audition process, I related to her in so many ways so I didn’t want to over prepare, because I didn’t want to ruin that. There wasn’t too much preparation.
Q: You’ve just started, what does this role mean for your career right now?
Freya: Exciting, overwhelming, nerve-wracking, all of these emotions. But I absolutely loved filming this series, and it was a huge learning experience for me, I’ve taken so much from the people I’ve worked with, made friends for life, and most importantly, I’ve enjoyed every moment of it on set. It’s set me up for the next jobs that I do, that I’ve learned so many skills from it. It’s been huge for my personal career.
Q: How do you perceive the relationship between Ciri and her grandmother Calanthe Fiona Riannon? Is she overprotective of Ciri?
Freya: Yes, I think she’s so worried about anything happening to her, and Ciri is so relentless and curious, and she wants to know. She’s constantly asking questions and not afraid of vocalizing her opinions and ideas. So Calanthe knows that, so she doesn’t want Ciri to know too much because she knows Ciri is ready to fight and be like Calanthe. Because Ciri does really admires her grandmother and takes some incredible things from her grandmother. Like I said, she values her voice, her opinion, she’s not going to be suppressed because shes a princess and a girl. So she takes some incredible things from her, but you do see Ciri start to uncover some darker truths about her grandmother.
Q: Did you have to shoot any action scenes where you did your own stunts? Like there was horse-riding…?
Freya: I loved it! I did lessons, and I adored it. I got to go on horses a few times, and it was just so fun. I remember this one day on set, I was riding a horse, and the instructor said just imagine that you’re going over a mountain and the horse will feel it and it will charge. And I was like “okay…sure”, so I did it and the horse canted off.
Q: What do you think the most challenging part of the role was?
Freya: Most of my challenges came at the start of filming. I was thrown right into it. Episode 1 was a huge episode for Ciri, so there were a lot of crucial scenes that I had to get right and make truthful and real, and put my heart into it. These scenes were pivotal in making that shift in her journey. So I did a lot of preparation into making sure that I could give my best for certain scenes. Especially the emotional ones where there were a lot of crying involved.
Q: There were a lot of women on this project, in front of and behind the camera. What was that like?
Freya: It was fantastic. I felt empowered every day, being surround by such talented brilliant women who have so much to offer and are allowed to do it. I was constantly inspired by the women on the show.
Q: How was shooting in Budapest?
Freya: It was great! I loved being in Budapest. Great food, great restaurants, did a lot of eating. It was good.
Q: What was it like working with Anya?
Freya: Anya is so talented and she inspires me so much. I aspire to be an actress like her one day, and Henry is so passionate and infectious, and he’s totally committed to this role and project, and he loves it, and you can tell that when he’s talking to you about it, and so he’s had so much experience so he had a lot of advice to offer. They’re both fantastic.
Q: What do you think about unicorns? And what does Ciri think bout unicorns, and do you think she wants to meet one?
Freya: I would love to meet a unicorn. I loved doing the horse-riding. If it was a unicorn, that’d be even better. Ciri, I think she’d like to meet a unicorn. I mean, I think most people would want to meet a unicorn, right?
Make sure to also check out our interviews with Lauren S Hissrich and Anya Chalotra.