‘The Witcher’ Star Anya Chalotra on Season 3 and Embracing Her Dual British-Indian Heritage

Yennefer of Vengerberg is a name that needs no introduction for fans of The Witcher, which started as a short-story submission for a Polish magazine in 1986, became a series of novels in the ’90s, was reinterpreted as a video game in 2007, and spawned various comic book iterations in the last decade before finally being adapted as a TV series for Netflix in 2019. And yet, for the grand scale on which the fantasy drama is produced (and the fact that she plays a pivotal character opposite the eponymous Witcher, Geralt, portrayed by none other than Henry Cavill), Anya Chalotra is a relative newbie on the scene. But where others might have floundered under the weight of the legacy attached to the role, the 26-year-old rose to the challenge, smoothly eliding the years between herself and the ancient sorceress she plays.

Looking at her on Zoom, dressed in a plain white shirt, hair pulled back into a messy bun, face devoid of any trace of makeup—as far removed from the glamorous, power-hungry mage she plays on the show as she possibly can be—I wonder if it is the slick confidence of a younger millennial. Chalotra, instead, chalks it up to being an old soul. “Since I was a kid, I’ve always connected better with the adults in my family. I would really enjoy listening to stories my grandparents narrated. I’d just sit there and take it all in,” she says, smiling. I realize in that moment that I’m waiting for her irises to deepen into the shade of vibrant violet I’m so used to seeing on television, but they retain their brown-green warmth. “Yennefer is almost 100 years old, so it falls to me to find the middle ground between being someone who has seen a lot of the world and someone who is figuring things out on the go, simply because the world around her is constantly changing.”

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