Netflix on Thursday released a behind-the-scenes look at the production of “All the Light We Cannot See,” introducing star and first-time actress Aria Mia Loberti.
Produced and directed by Shawn Levy, the series based on the best-selling Pulitzer Prize winning novel from author Anthony Doerr, stars Loberti as Marie-Laure LeBlanc, a blind French teen during the Nazi occupation of France in World War II.
The clip explains how Loberti inhabits the role.
“This massive part in this epic series, it’s probably one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given,” Loberti says in the featurette.
The film also stars Louis Hofmann as Werner Pfennig, Mark Ruffalo as Marie-Laure’s father Daniel LeBlanc and Hugh Laurie as Marie-Laure’s uncle Etienne LeBlanc.
Levy wanted the process of casting Marie-Laure to be “authentic and equitable” to people with the experience of blindness or low vision. His solution was to find an actress who was blind or low vision to accurately represent disability onscreen.
“Aria is someone who understands this character in her soul. She’s never auditioned, she’s never thought about being an actress, and she got the part,” Levy said. “To have Marie played by someone who understands what it is like to walk that road.”
Marie-Laure’s story revolves around her father relocating them from Paris, France to the smaller seaside town of Saint-Malo, all for a mysterious blue diamond that may or may not be the genuine version out of four — Daniel LeBlanc made three fakes to throw any seekers off the scent of the jewel. World War II brought many out of the woodwork to search for the “Sea of Flames.”
“Marie’s experience of blindness is not a catalyst for the story necessarily,” Loberti said. “It is her experience as a blind girl navigating love and loss in a time of war.”
Werner, who Levy describes as “this pure soul being indoctrinated into evil to which he doesn’t subscribe,” gets stationed in Saint-Malo to scan radio frequencies and bust any war refugees illegally broadcasting on secret airwaves. This is how he and Marie-Laure are fated to cross paths, for she begins contributing to the French resistance via her Uncle Etienne’s radio.
“It’s a story about love and survival and triumph over evil,” Ruffalo said. This material is precious, and it’s unique. If you follow that, then what you’re gonna make is precious and unique in the spirit of that.
Ruffalo also praised Loberti’s performance as “a revelation” and “remarkable.”