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The highly anticipated historical drama All the Light We Cannot See has its world premiere this weekend at TIFF, before debuting on Netflix this November. The four episode limited series, based on Anthony Doerr's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, tells the story of Marie-Laure, a blind French girl who escapes Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II.
"The question was always how do you represent a disability on screen in a way that feels authentic and equitable to people with that experience?" director Shawn Levy said in a new making of feature. "The answer, of course, find someone who is actually blind or low vision." They put out a global casting call, and found Aria-Mia Loberti, a newcomer with no formal acting training.
"Marie's experience with blindness is not a catalyst for the story, necessarily; it is her experience as a blind girl navigating love and loss in a time of war," Loberti said of her character. Her co-star, Mark Ruffalo, who plays Daniel, shared, "Aria has been a revelation. She'd never done anything like this, and it's really beautiful to see. It's remarkable."
The younger version of Marie-Laurie is played by Nell Sutton, a 7-year-old who is legally blind. "I'm gonna keep Marie in my heart," Sutton said.
For accessibility consultant Joe Strechay, working on All the Light We Cannot See was "pretty much the culmination of what I’ve been working towards over the last decade working in the film industry. It was hard for me to get into the industry as a person who’s blind. And the people who used to do my work were people with sight. So helping someone who didn’t have that opportunity end up being a lead on a television show just blows my mind."
On set, Loberti's guide dog, Ingrid, was a constant presence.
Here, watch a brand new look behind the scenes of All the Light We Cannot See:
All the Light We Cannot See premieres on November 2 on Netflix.
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