What do we know about the Netflix adaptation of All the Light We Cannot See?

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Buildings in the Paris skyline with clouds
Photo by Nil Castellví

Published in 2014, Anthony Doerr’s historical fiction bestseller All the Light We Cannot See is a book that will open up your heart, take up residence, and never really leave.

Set in Paris during the occupation of World War II, it’s one of my most recommended books of the last decade. And for good reason – nearly everyone I know who has read it has loved it.

Now in 2023, All the Light We Cannot See is coming to the screen, after Netflix acquired the rights for a four-part mini-series.

All the Light We Cannot See book

All the Light We Cannot See will be a Netflix mini-series

The release date of All the Light We Cannot See is yet to be confirmed, but it’s expected to be released sometime later in 2023.

Producer Shawn Levy shared this with Collider about possible release dates: “we’re looking at everywhere from spring through fall and trying to choose, I guess, the most well-suited date for release.”

What do we know about the Netflix adaptation of All the Light We Cannot See so far?

Looking at the cast, newcomer Aria Mia Loberti will play the central role of Marie-Laure, a twelve-year-old blind girl who lives in Paris and is forced to flee when the city is occupied.

As a Fulbright Scholar and first-year Ph.D. student in rhetoric at Pennsylvania State University, Aria Mia Loberti was selected for the role from thousands of submissions despite no formal acting training.

Aria was born with a severe form of the rare genetic eye condition achromatopsia, which means she is completely blind in some environments and has minimal, variable residual vision in others.

In a TEDx talk in 2018, Aria talked about her activism for the blind and visually impaired, plus the power of solidarity and silence.

Nell Sutton, who is legally blind, will also make her acting debut as Young Marie-Laure.

Louis Hofmann will play the male lead, Werner, a German soldier whose path collides with Marie-Laure’s as they both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

As the first of two big names joining the cast, Mark Ruffalo will play Daniel LeBlanc, Marie-Laure’s father and principal locksmith at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. 

Hugh Laurie will play Daniel’s eccentric uncle, Etienne LeBlanc, a reclusive World War I veteran who secretly records radio broadcasts as part of the French resistance.

The novel is adapted for the screen by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders) and Shawn Levy (Stranger Things) will direct all four episodes.

What to read while waiting for All the Light We Cannot See on Netflix

While we’re waiting for the Neflix series, it’s the perfect time to read or re-read All the Light We Cannot See.

That said, it’s also a good moment to dive into the stunning worlds of Anthony Doerr’s other books.

Cloud Cuckoo Land is Anthony Doerr’s 2021 wonderfully imaginative story of dreamers and outsiders from the past, present, and future.

I listened to this as an audiobook last year and fell utterly under its spell for all 600+ pages, spanning Constantinople in 1453, Idaho in 2020, and an unknown community in peril sometime in the future.

Doerr’s debut, The Shell Collector, is a stunning short story collection that’s more grounded in the present, but still masterfully traverses the contours of the globe and the human heart.

It’s a unique exploration of the bonds between humankind and nature from the African Coast to the pine forests of Montana, and perfect to read if you loved the heartfelt beauty and raw emotion of All the Light We Cannot See.

Other books coming to the screen

While we’re waiting for All the Light We Cannot See to air on Netflix, there are a few other adaptations of bestselling books to get excited about.

The rights for Madeline Miller’s stunning novel Circe have been bought by HBO Max, while the Pulitzer Prize winner The Overstory is also in production at Netflix.

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