Lauren Hissrich Talks 'The Witcher' Season 1 & 2

During The Witcher LA press junket on December 3rd, we had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with showrunner Lauren Hissrich. We first spoke with her at a round table interview at SDCC, and were honored to catch up on the growth of the show.

Your career is taking you on a pretty impressive journey so far. What lessons have you learned from your past work that you're applying to The Witcher? 

I mean everything. I've been doing this for 19 years, or 20 years if you count the year that I did an unpaid internship on The West Wing.

I started by getting coffee, answering phones and getting people's lunches. Then I was invited into the writers’ room and started getting to take notes and listen to the pitches of the really smart people around me.

Then I became a researcher. So then I was presented with, "Okay, how would I build a story?" They’re coming to me for information and I just worked my way up to be a writer.

Once I started on a show called Private Practice, that's when I actually started going to set a lot more. I got that next level of experience with actors, directors, and with the crew and seeing everyone else be experts in their fields.

I wouldn't change a moment of it because those are all lessons now that I use in my job. From inspiring people to do their jobs well, not trying to control everything myself, and being a nice person because I've been the person that gets coffee. The person that gets me coffee is just as valuable to my life as a person that's giving me information or helping me craft a story.

I'm going to nerd out and say that you remind me of Captain Picard!

No one has ever said those words to me before, Kelsey, so I'll take it! I'm gonna tell my husband that and he's gonna be so excited someone made that connection!

I mean, you have to, right? I want to know everyone's name that works on the crew and be there every day. It's really important to me to show up when we have call time on set which is when everyone shows up to start and I say there's the end of the day because if I can't set that example then how do I expect other people to do that?

How do you solve balancing Polish influences in Mr. Sapkowski’s books and accommodate for a larger global audience?

One of the very first things Andrzej told me about was his travels as a salesman. He traveled a lot up into Russia, Western Europe and all over. He, of course, was influenced by Poland because that's where he grew up and it influenced why he wanted to write these stories.

What I love is that he actually brought in this really cosmopolitan, big world based on his own travels. And that's what's in the book. So that's what I get to write about. It’s part of why I hired the writers that I have.

A lot is made about diversity in writers' rooms and I think that's incredibly important. The problem for me is when diversity is just boiled down to mean skin color, because it's actually diversity of experience, birthplace, of family, talents, and skills.

You need the diversity of experiences to really flush out a story. Starting with Sapkowski’s writing, seeing his diverse experiences, and then feeding that with the experiences of the very diverse writers’ room. I just think it was a match made in heaven and it allows us to make the continent bigger and bigger.

I remember watching a video of writer Declan de Barra working with composer Sonya Belousova on music.

Yeah, you'll hear some of Declan in the series because he does a lot of the vocals for us, which was completely unexpected! He has a voice and he is so nonchalant about it. If you google him, he's got YouTube videos and some of my favorite music, actually.

That’s amazing! That's a testament to the diversity in the writers’ room.

That’s what’s so fun about a writers room. One of the very first things that you do sort of is the “cone of silence,” which means that what is in here stays in here. We don't gossip. We don't talk behind each others' backs, because what you're really asking is for people to bring their own life and their own vulnerabilities to the screen.

I talked about my marriage all the time and my children. I need to know that it won't go beyond that, but if that's something that can spark a relationship between Geralt and Yennefer, or Yennefer's desires to have a child- that's something that I can speak to personally.

What stories or characters are you excited to bring to life next season?

What's so fun is when you write a season of television, you have it all planned out. You think you know what's going to happen, you know what you're going to love doing. It's just going to start feeling like you need to get this expositional story out so that you can get to the next thing. Then what's surprising is that you have to have a plan, but you also have to have flexibility to let things organically come to the surface and grow and develop.

There are characters that we met in season one that we hired an actor for one episode in one season. I'm not going to tell you who these characters are by the way, and we loved him so much. It's like, well, “How can we bring him back and make him a bigger part of season two?”

For that story, there's ten different things that we're adding. It's stuff that we discovered in the process- actors we love working with, characters that had relationships that were much more dynamic than we'd ever planned, locations that we want to go back to, any of those things.

I am so excited to get back into it. You know, we've actually written the season already, and so we’ll start filming next year, and it's been great because it's been amidst the excitement of letting the world see season one. I'm so excited because I know what's percolating for season two, so I can’t wait!

The first season of The Witcher will premiere on Dec. 20th, and according to Lauren, filming for season two is not far behind! What do you think? Let us know in the comments below or in our forum!

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Kelsey Johnston is the primary admin of She also works for, and She's a published author and has been involved in the entertainment industry for over four years now.

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