When you got the call to be in this series, was it a surprise, or were you quite excited? Were you expecting it?
JB: No, I wasn’t! Declan [de Barra, who created Blood Origin] and I get on really well. He worked on Season One of The Witcher and is one of my favourite writers, he gave me a call and said “hey, we’ve got this idea”, and then we shot something whilst they were all shooting the show, it was a big song and dance number. And Bear McCreary wrote the song and it was quite fun. It was a fun opening.
Then I got another call from Declan – this was the surprising one! – whilst I was shooting the third season of The Witcher and said “we’re going to do it at all again, it’s going to be totally different, it’s going to be mayhem and carnage!” And I was like: “Cool!”. I was shooting Witcher S3 on Monday, then Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday on Blood Origin, and then back to Witcher S3. I was shooting till four in the morning. But I wanted to be involved because Declan is fantastic, I would walk across hot coals for him, I think he’s amazing.
Fans are quite devout about this show already. So when they heard that you were kind of returning in some shape or form, the internet went crazy as your character has been so embraced by my friends. Has all of that sunk in yet?
JB: I’m not particularly an internet man. I’m not particularly savvy with Twitter and Instagram but some friends were showing me some of the Tweets and there is so much lovely supportive energy to the fandom and huge ownership that they have over the cannon and have a protective nature over Mr. Sapkowski’s wonderful work and Henry’s performance for example.
It’s really nice when you see them complimenting you too, it’s like thank you. Everyone on the show is working so hard to try and create something that is a little bit new, different, and engaging, and the blood, sweat, and tears that everyone throws into it are astounding.
How challenging has it been in terms of your character now you are three seasons deep into both his and the show’s mythology?
JB: The myth of the man! Season Three was particularly challenging for everyone. It was a really, really hard shoot but very rewarding and I think everyone in any interview will now say it was the hardest one we’ve ever done. It was the biggest version of the show we’ve ever done, even bigger than this, and just keeps getting bigger every single year, and the days get longer, you’re shooting multiple units on the same day, running from scene to scene, it can be really fatiguing and galling at times.
Yet, at the end of it, you can see the hard work that everyone’s put into it, no one more so than then Henry who has just the sheer athleticism. Again, you can see the hard work and I hope fans recognise that and see how much we love it.
How is the changing of the guard regarding Henry Cavill and Liam Hemsworth? It’s not uncommon for such things to happen in television over the years but fans have been having their say. What was your reaction to it all heading into the fourth season?
JB: I think it’ll sink in a little bit more when Liam comes in next year. But of course, we’ll miss him [Cavill]. I’ll miss him. He’s a really, really good pal. We were texting the other day and speaking about how weird it will be not seeing him every day. But Liam is attacking this role with serious ferocity, which is exciting and I can’t wait for that freshness and new energy he’s going to bring to the set. I think it’s going to be good.
The Witcher: Blood Origin arrives on Netflix on December 25th