If you’ve seen the first episode of “The Witcher” Season 2, odds are you didn’t quite recognize the actor behind Nivellen – at least not at first. “Game of Thrones” alum Kristofer Hivju fills the role of a friend of Geralt’s who’s been cursed with the appearance of a beast, and the visual representation of the character is nothing short of jaw-dropping.
You’d be forgiven for assuming that the character was all makeup given the ease of motion in Hivju’s face, but in an interview with TheWrap the actor revealed that the costume was actually 95% prosthetics. “A small hole with a camera captures every movement in my face,” Hivju explained. “And that small piece is being transformed with CGI. But many people think it’s all makeup, and that just means that they’ve done an amazing job.”
The actor said the design went through various permutations, as they had to nail Nivellen from multiple different angles. “It was a long process because you have to make the fans happy who have a very clear image of how this beast or boar-meets-human looks like,” Hivju explained. “And then you have my physicality and then you have the idea of the character. So we played around with a lot of different looks, and I loved the way it ended.”
Hivju went on to reveal that they actually ended up softening the original design. “It started out with a bit more of an aggressive look and we made him a bit milder, because Nivellen, the guy behind the curse, he was a pretty soft guy. So there was no point to make him look aggressive. But it looks a bit dangerous still, though (laughs).”
TheWrap spoke with Hivju and actor Kim Bodnia in anticipation of Season 2’s release, which hit Netflix on Dec. 17. Bodnia fills the vital role of Vesemir, the mentor to Henry Cavill’s Geralt who strikes up a relationship with Ciri (Freya Allan) in the new season.
When asked whether either of them were handed a guidebook to the mythology of “The Witcher” given the dense nature of the show, Hivju summed it up perfectly: “When you join a universe like this, you have to become a nerd. But you don’t get ‘the nerd book,’ you have to find it yourself.”
Check out the full interview in the player above, and check out our interview with Freya Allan if you missed it . “The Witcher” Season 2 is currently streaming on Netflix.