Premiering on Netflix November 2nd is the four-part series ‘’All the Light We Cannot See,’ which is based on author Anthony Doerr’s novel of the same name. The series was developed and written by Steven Knight (‘Spencer’) and directed by Shawn Levy (‘Free Guy,’ ‘Deadpool 3’).
Moviefone recently had the pleasure of speaking with director Shawn Levy and writer Steven Knight about their work on ‘’All the Light We Cannot See,’ visually adapting the source material, the themes they wanted to explore, the show’s unusual structure, and casting actress Aria Mia Loberti.
Moviefone: To begin with, Shawn, can you talk about the challenges of adapting this source material visually to the screen, as well as the themes that you were excited to explore with the series?
Shawn Levy: Well, the good news is that the hardest part of the adaptation was Steven’s job, so I was spared that. I try to listen to what the script is telling me it wants to be, which is why ‘Free Guy’ looks different from ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘The Adam Project,’ and in this case, the source material, both the book and Steven’s adaptation, it was such a combination of historic, epic visuals, but with almost lyrical intimacy. I saw an opportunity to make something that doesn’t look like anything I’ve made before, but that also said something thematically that I believe in, which is, in spite of the many ways the world can break our heart, particularly in wartime, and the cruelty that people can do, that there is the critical importance of believing in the light we can’t see at a certain moment. History just recurrently teaches us this again and again, and times are dark once again, and it’s so hard, but also so important to hold on to your humanity, to your empathy, and to your ability to connect with someone else, regardless of the uniform they wear or the side of the world or conflict that they’re on.
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MF: The series follows two different stories and features a lot of flashbacks. Steven, can you talk about the structure of the series and the challenges of adapting the source material?
Steven Knight: The biggest challenge of adapting the novel is the time shifts, because it’s sort of easier to do that on the page than it is on the screen. It took some sort of ingenuity to make sure that the audience don’t get lost in the time and fall between the cracks. I mean, that is a technical challenge, but I think that the real challenge of adapting something this good and this brilliant is to be able to confidently say that you know the characters well enough to have them do things they don’t do in the book. Setting the characters free can only happen if you are sure, you know who they are, and what they would do in those circumstances. For me, that was the biggest challenge, as well as daring to adapt something this well-loved and this well-celebrated. But I think in the end you have to do that; otherwise only mediocre novels would ever get adapted.
MF: Finally, Shawn, can you talk about discovering actress Aria Mia Loberti and why she was perfect to play the lead role of Marie-Laure LeBlanc?
SL: I felt going in that if I could find someone to play Marie who was herself low-vision or blind, that it wouldn’t just be the right way to approach it, it would be the better way to approach it, because it would be the authentic way to tell this story. So, we put out an open casting call and got well over a thousand auditions. One of them was from this graduate student, Fulbright scholar, young woman, who had never acted or even auditioned before, but she had such a presence on screen. She had an intelligence and a fire in her that felt like a hero and felt like it could bring this hero to life.
What is the plot of ‘All the Light We Cannot See’?
‘All the Light We Cannot See follows’ the lives of two teenagers during the height of World War II: Marie-Laure (Aria Mia Loberti), a blind French girl and Werner Pfennig (Louis Hofmann), a German boy forced to join and fight for the Nazi Regime.
Who is in the cast of ‘All the Light We Cannot See’?
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