Ahead of Dublin Comic Con: Spring Edition I was lucky enough to interview one of the guests. Many know him as the legendary Witcher Geralt of Rivia but I interviewed the man behind the myth. I got to interview Doug Cockle. Check it out below.
1. Doug, what’s it been like being a part of so many peoples lives simply through the use of your voice? After all, so many people around the world love the characters you bring to life – Chernobog (SMITE), Victor Vran (Victor Vran), and of course Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher series)
It really is an honour to be part of something that brings happiness to so many people. It’s part of why I think I became an actor: The desire to affect people in a positive way and provide them with an experience that transports them out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary. Games offer people such a unique interactive form of entertainment and are able to engage an audience, in their own homes, in such a potentially transformative way it really is incredible.
So yes… what is it like? It’s pretty cool!
2. You said in a previous interview that there were no artistic inclinations within your family so when you found acting and started to fall in love with it what did your parents think when they saw you in roles in films like Reign of Fire, Captain America: The First Avenger and then made your way to roles like Geralt in The Witcher series?
Well… I’m not sure which previous interview you are referring to. There are probably several out there in which I talk about this a bit. There were artistic inclinations in my family, just nobody who followed those inclinations into a career. My dad was a pretty good visual artist (drawing) when he was a young man. My mom trained as a primary school teacher and was forever sitting on the floor with me and my sister doing finger painting or other artistic things. My paternal grandmother was an amateur painter and did lots of textiles things.. making quilts and knitting blankets and clothing. So there were certainly artistic influences and my parents always encouraged us to be creative and do artsy things.
I think my parents were equal parts proud of me for following what I love, rather than putting to the side as a hobby while doing my “real” job, and also quietly terrified that I might never manage to make this acting thing work out. When I changed my major at University from pre-Medicine Biology to Theatre Arts, after much deliberation, I phoned my parents and told them what I was planning. When I told them it went a bit quiet… then my dad said… “ok. Just be careful son. Those people lead an alternative lifestyle.” After that, it was all encouragement from them. I never did ask what my father actually meant by “alternative”, but it doesn’t really matter. He gave me a great quote!
As things developed in my career it was clear, and they said as much, that my parents were proud of what I was doing. They still are.
3. You’ve also said that you’ve met few of the cast of The Witcher franchise. Has that changed now that you are attending conventions?
I still have only met a few of the other Witcher game cast. I don’t think any of the others are doing conventions. But I’m hoping we might change that! Imagine a convention at which the voice actors for Geralt, Yen, Triss, Ciri, Dandelion and maybe some of the others are all there! I think that would go over really big. Watch this space…. 😊
Also, really looking forward to Dublin Comic Con! I haven’t been to Dublin for many years and am looking forward to spending a little time there again, and to meeting Witcher fans!!! Come on Irish cosplayers… let’s see watcha got…
4. On the topic of conventions, what has it been like meeting all your fans at these events?
I love meeting fans of my work! Its usually Witcher fans obviously, but I also get fans of other games I’ve done or of Band of Brothers for instance. The thing that is so great is their passion for the work. Their excitement is palpable and it excites me too! I’ve met some really great people over the last few years doing conventions; People I probably never would have met if it weren’t for The Witcher.
5. You’ve won several awards over the years. Just last year you won the Golden Joystick Award for Best Gaming Performance regarding your portrayal of Geralt. What was it like to win that especially for what is essentially the finale of The Witcher video game franchise?
It was actually 2016 when I won the Golden Joystick Award, so a couple years back now, but it still is one of those moments I’ll never forget. Like also winning the NAVGTR Award in the same year and being nominated for a BAFTA. To have your work recognised by organisations like these feels really wonderful. It doesn’t matter if it’s the end of Geralt’s journey that is being recognised specifically… it’s really the whole of his journey that is worth celebrating and I think awards like these are, at least partly, doing just that.
6. An element of acting and characters is that no character is yours forever so I’d love to know what you think about the live-action The Witcher series coming to Netflix and if you have any tips for Henry Cavill once he dons the threads of the White Wolf?
Yes! Of course… no character is yours forever. It’s a bit true of any art of any kind. Once it is put out there for public consumption the artist has to let go and let the public have it. It’s a bit like having a child. For a parent, the process of nurturing a child as they grow is one of constantly letting go… little by little… until they can, in an ideal world, stand on their own. Art is similar. We nurture our work until it has to be given the opportunity to stand or fall on its own merits.
But… as to the question of Henry Cavill and the Netflix series… it will be what it will be! Henry will make Geralt his own with the support of what looks to me like a great team around him and a passion for the character based on his love of the books and video game. I have faith that the Witcher Netflix team will deliver something fans of the books and the game can appreciate and love on its own merits.
And my advice for Henry… very simply…. Have fun dude and enjoy the ride.
7. Finally, Doug, I’m not sure if you still lecture but do you think you’d leave acting behind and return to moulding young minds, swapping out your silver and steel blades for a whiteboard and markers?
Ok… firstly… I rarely used a whiteboard and markers! I preferred speaking in barely understandable metaphors and platitudes and thoroughly confusing my students until they learned out of sheer desperation to understand. Kidding. There is some truth to that statement though, as I’m sure some of my former students would attest to!
No, I no longer teach at University except for occasional one-off workshops or Guest Speaker events. My thirteen years of Uni teaching, twelve as the Course Leader, were fantastic and I may in the future return to full or part-time teaching, but for now, I’m enjoying being back in the freelance world and exploring different projects and activities.
The silver and steel blades are safe for now. 😉
So there you have it. Doug Cockle isn’t just a smooth criminal with a blade and a VO mic. He’s intelligent, funny and frankly, he looks to be one of the highlights of an already stellar line up at Dublin Comic Con 2019: Spring Edition.
Stay tuned for more from GamEir and let us know what is your favourite Doug Cockle performance.