Review of Interview: The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf Writer Beau DeMayo

The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is out on Netflix on August 23, 2021. The film focuses on the witcher that trained Geralt named Vesemir and gives key backstory details for the hit series.

“The world of The Witcher expands in this anime origin story: Before Geralt, there was his mentor Vesemir — a swashbuckling young witcher who escaped a life of poverty to slay monsters for coin,” says the official synopsis. “But when a strange new monster begins terrorizing a politically-fraught kingdom, Vesemir finds himself on a frightening adventure that forces him to confront the demons of his past…”

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf writer Beau DeMayo about Vesemir as a character, his favorite aspects of the film, and more.

Tyler Treese: Vesemir is such an interesting character. What really stood out about him and what made him such an interesting protagonist for your story?

Beau DeMayo: I think for Vesemir, it comes down to just this idea that we always talked about on Witcher both on the live-action side, especially, which is that Witcher is about found families. It’s about orphans finding each other. It’s about raising that next generation, guiding that next generation. That’s what Geralt and Yennefer find themselves doing with Ciri. So it always felt natural that we go back and ask who the heck raised Geralt. Like who’s responsible for this guy. Then when you play the video games, and I remember in the video game in Witcher 3, when Ciri goes to Kaer Morhen and you see her interactions, especially there with Vesemir and this kind of like Santa Claus, like uncle grandfather playfulness he has. It just immediately stood out to me like, who was this man when he was in his twenties, so to speak. Before he had been on the path for decades and been worn down, lost friends and allies, and all of this. That’s just kind of what made him interesting to me is like that guy was probably a cocky, playful swashbuckler who just was unlike any witcher we’ve seen before.

It’s real fun especially for the fans of the series as they’re used to seeing him as this old and wisened individual. In here, he’s in his prime, he’s very bold. He’s brash. How would you contrast his personality to Geralt?

I think Geralt is someone, in my opinion, is someone who’s afraid of the world. It’s why he says he’s just going to be neutral all the time. It’s why he doesn’t get involved. There’s something fundamentally because of his experience, there’s just a hesitancy, there’s trauma there of just I’m not going to get involved. The first person he saved, flipped out on him afterward. He is now the Butcher of Blaviken because he tried to do the right thing. He always tries to get involved and it makes things worse.

The difference with Vesemir is that Vesemir is someone who kind of leans into the world. He loves pleasures. He wants to go to the brothel. He wants to go get the finest food. He wants to go find love. He wants to go find romance and flings and make friends and go to the pub and drink with people. That to me was the way I kept on kind of cracking Vesemir scenes was if Geralt would lean out, Vesemir would lean into the world. Any scene you put him in was kind of the guiding principle for Vesemir when it comes to personality. I guess the easiest way to put it is Vesemir is an extrovert and Geralt is an introvert, but it feels very reductionist and kind of pop psychology.

You mentioned working on the television series. How does your writing change when you’re dealing with the animation space or do you approach it the same way?

From a process standpoint, I approach it the same way in terms of cracking the story. I think anime itself lends itself to that a little bit more cause you do have animes that are out there that aren’t action-based. A lot of people think first blush anime, especially in the states, their first thing is going to be like Gundam Wing, Dragon Ball Z, high-octane kinetic animation, but when you actually start diving into anime, you find animes where there’s no action. They’re dramas. They’re psychological thrillers. So at least for this, I didn’t have to change my process that much.

That being said, we would have been remiss not to take a property like The Witcher into anime and think about things that we could not possibly do in live-action. That’s why I think where the action question becomes a play. It’s just like, there’s just things that in live-action that if you did it, would look silly, that you can do in anime. How can we push the world and the rules and the magic and the action of the Witcher world to an extreme, without breaking the spirit of what makes The Witcher The Witcher. So I think that that process there when it came to action changed a little bit in terms of I don’t have to worry about injuring an actor. But in terms of the actual story itself, the characters, the one-on-one scenes, it was all same as when I’m writing a live-action project.

We get to see a lot of backstory here about why there is such a stigma around the witchers. How exciting was it to show this extra depth to such a beloved franchise?

The two things that got me the most excited, one was the love story element, and the other one was just to be able to dive into the prejudice around being a witcher. Where did that come from? These guys basically are the like hardest working pest control agency in the face of the continent, yet they’re just treated like demons and hated and just like reviled by people. So it was important to me, and we talked about this a lot in the writer’s room of just like why are they hated so much? What possibly could have happened to turn public opinion, for lack of a better term against them. That was probably the most exciting question as a writer going into this to explore, to answer, but also ask questions about whether or not the reasons disliking the witchers may be valid.

You brought up the love story and I think that’s such an interesting part of the film, especially because it deals with age. The usage of time I thought it was really cool because he’s barely aged from a physical standpoint while she’s almost 70. Can you speak to that element? It’s a very unique love story that we don’t really see.

I mean, I am a sap for a dance scene and a romance. That’s kind of my thing, which you’ll see, they are both in the anime. To me, dark fantasies are only as good in my mind as the epic romance that’s there. I think the easiest way to kind of get to a character like Vesemir, who is kind of cocky and a Casanova, is to show the thing that can break his heart. Show the thing that can get behind the bravado. That’s what really came in there. In terms of the age difference, I mean, we’ve seen it the other way around so many times of like the older man with the younger woman. That had actually just made a lot of sense and just really spoke to the tragedy of time itself. I think in a lot of couples in relationships, regardless of gender or sexuality, time tends to put people in different directions. Time is everything. Kind of being able to tell a romance where time was everything, but still there’s that thing there that it was enduring really kind of just pulled at The Notebook, Lifetime original movie heartstrings inside of me.

The series has this great foundation. In the novels, there’s so much rich lore, but this is a part of that has been talked about, but it hasn’t been fully detailed. From a fan standpoint and as a creative, was it almost daunting, a little bit to be putting this lore into that rich world?

Yes and no. It’s funny being a fan-made it easier if that makes any sense. Like I played the games when I was in college. Two years before I got hired on the show, I was literally arguing with my buddy at his place playing Witcher 3 and talking about like, oh, when you go to Skellige, you do this at dusk and look how pretty it looks. I was already a geek for this show that when I was writing the script if something felt bad to me or I was going, “ah, that’s not right,” I just veered away from it because it was me off as a fan, it was setting me on the wrong direction. It was making me feel uncomfortable. So that took a lot of the daunting of like, am I going to make fans angry out, in terms of building out what happened in this period of time. Yes, that was incredibly terrifying. Because standing in this world that is huge and massive and has such epic moments that we hear hinted about and to kind of answer some of those moments, I had some sleepless nights.

The post Interview: The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf Writer Beau DeMayo appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

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