Freya Allan Teases Ciri’s Future in 'The Witcher' Season 4 (and Shares Her Thoughts on Liam Hemsworth)

freya allen
Freya Allan Works Her MagicSharif Hamza

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freya allen
Dress, Victoria Beckham. Earrings, ring, Van Cleef & Arpels.Sharif Hamza

Freya Allan longs to be human again—or at least try her hand at a role that doesn’t involve portal-opening powers, superintelligent primates, or a shape-shifting demon in a pub basement. Such are the traits of the characters she’s inhabited in her short-but-flourishing Hollywood career, launched when the London-born actress was still a teen, eager to prove her mettle after a friend gained a slot at the prestigious English drama school Stagecoach. (“I was really jealous,” she admits.)

An only child until she was a preteen, Allan learned to depend on her own talents, finding comfort in the fantasy worlds she conjured to occupy her time. “I used to play games with my friends and tell them they weren’t allowed to use the word pretend,” she says, laughing. The transition from playing in those worlds to acting in them was natural.

The Witcher was my drama school,” she says of the Netflix fantasy series phenomenon that first hurtled her into global recognition. At 17 years old, she dyed her hair, bleached her eyebrows, and blended “white paste” into her already fair skin to assume the guise of the sorceress Princess Ciri. In the run-up to adulthood, Allan had wanted badly to remain a child—as Ciri, she’d actually looked like one. The juxtaposition felt jarring. “I was feeling very insecure about [my appearance], because I was finally deciding that I wanted to feel like a woman,” Allan says. Meanwhile, she was learning to perform in a magical world alongside actors like Henry Cavill—who, in October 2022, announced a shocking departure from the show—after having spent much of her youth wishing for just such a reality.

freya allen in the witcher
Freya Allan in The Witcher.Susie Allnutt - Netflix

In May, Allan starred in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, the latest in the rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise. As an intelligent human pretending to be feral in order to survive, Allan’s character befriends Noa (Owen Teague), an evolved chimpanzee unsure whether hunting humans is an ethical path forward for apekind. Though the sprawling science fiction setting was an obvious fit for Allan, the film’s talent—Teague and director Wes Ball—were what most drew her to the project, an indicator of her own shifting priorities.

As Season 4 of The Witcher—which started filming April 15—approaches, Allan knows she’s not yet free of the world of Cintra, nor is she ready to let it go. But the time will come soon enough, and she’s excited about what lies ahead, she says. “It’ll be a massive end of a chapter of my life, but I think that it needs to be finished in order for me to fully move forward.”

freya allen
Jacket, blouse, $1,600, skirt, $2,600, Celine by Hedi Slimane. Jean Schlumberger earrings, ring, $6,200, Tiffany & Co.Sharif Hamza

In enormous productions like The Witcher and Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, she says, “There’s always a slight essence of having to fight for the story, and the character building, which is what interests us as actors. And so my dream now is to do something where it’s completely stripped back, and it’s all about the acting, and there are no big sets or costumes to hide behind.”

Which isn’t to imply the Lion Cub of Cintra won’t have a powerhouse performance ready for Season 4. Allan teases that Ciri’s storyline in The Witcher’s next chapter will take “the biggest shift we’ve seen. It’s so unbelievably different from anything that I’ve ever played with her,” she says. “She has her first experience with romance, if you can even call it that, because it’s not a good relationship. She goes into a very dark part of herself that I think is going to be terrifying to look at.”

freya allen in kingdom of the planet of the apes
Freya Allan in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.20th Century Studios

Allan will also debut her first scenes with Liam Hemsworth, newly cast in the role of Ciri’s adoptive father, Geralt, after Cavill’s exit. Some fans weren’t thrilled when the transition was first announced, but Allan dismisses the vitriol. Fans “just love to hate on something,” she says. “We’ve made it clear that we’re welcoming him with open arms.”

Now 22, Allan feels more comfortable with the woman she’s becoming, and the direction in which she’s pushing her career. Fashion is a newer focus—she recently nabbed headlines with her Tom Ford microshorts at Milan Fashion Week—but she’s open to other creative outlets, such as singing and dancing in a West End musical. Or a Disney live-action remake. “I always say that I want to be Rapunzel in Tangled,” she says. Perhaps she’s not quite ready to relinquish the fairy tales.

Hair by Anton Alexander for Kérastase; makeup by Grace Ahn at Day One; manicure by Merrick Fisher and Naoko Saita at Opus Beauty; produced by Production Partners; photographed on location at The Hollywood Roosevelt.

A version of this article appears in the June/July 2024 issue of ELLE.

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