First announced back in September, the upcoming Netflix limited series All The Light We Cannot See has found its leading lady. Based on the Pulitzer prize best-selling novel by Anthony Doerr, the series will follow a blind teenager who crosses paths with a German soldier as they try to escape the destruction of Nazi-occupied France during World War II.
Newcomer Aria Mia Loberti was cast as the lead Marie-Laure. Loberti heard about the casting for blind and low vision actresses from a childhood teacher, and even though she had no formal training as an actress, the Fulbright Scholar and PSU Ph.D. student in Rhetoric tried out for the main role and ended up beating thousands of other submissions.
Loberti will make her acting debut while working closely with series writer Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders) and director Shawn Levy (Stranger Things) as they bring to life the period drama and work on the four episodes of the limited series, which Levy is set to executive produce and direct.
In an official statement, Levy celebrated the end of the worldwide search to find his lead actor, and revealed he was as surprised as everyone else when Loberti revealed she had never acted nor auditioned before:
“To find an actress to play the iconic Marie-Laure – a young blind woman whose greatest strength is the tenacity of her hope and the power of her voice across the airwaves during wartime – was no small challenge. We searched the world and reviewed thousands of auditions. We never thought our path would lead to someone who has not only never acted professionally, but never auditioned before. It was a jaw-drop moment when we first saw Aria Mia Loberti, who is both a natural performer and an advocate for disability equity and representation. I can’t wait to tell this beautiful story with her at the center.”
All The Light We Cannot See is a literary global phenomenon, with over 9 million copies sold across the planet. Aside from the coveted Pulitzer Prize, the novel also earned its author the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction in 2015. It stayed on the New York Times best-seller list for over two hundred weeks. Netflix has yet to select a release date for All The Light We Cannot See limited series.