Aria Mia Loberti as Marie-Laure behind the scenes in an attic.

Finding the Light

Shawn Levy’s limited series All the Light We Cannot See brings the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel to the screen.

14 September 20233 min read

In 2014, Anthony Doerr’s novel All the Light We Cannot See hit the shelves with an initial print run of 60,000 copies. The book went on to sell over 15 million copies worldwide, win a Pulitzer Prize and an Andrew Carnegie Medal, and left fans longing for an onscreen adaptation, so they could relive the story in new ways. The answer has arrived with the upcoming eponymous limited series, directed and produced by Shawn Levy (The Adam Project, Stranger Things) and written by Peaky Blinders’ Steven Knight. 

All the Light We Cannot See is the story of two teenagers enduring the traumas of World War II through very different experiences. Marie-Laure (Aria Mia Loberti), a French girl who is blind, must escape her home of Paris with her father Daniel (Mark Ruffalo) as the Nazis invade. Werner (Louis Hofmann), a German orphan with a talent for repairing radios, is placed in a Nazi youth training center and eventually into the war efforts that he opposes. Marie-Laure and Werner’s stories unfold, connected but separate, hurtling towards a potential intersection. 

“I devoured the book,” says Levy of reading the novel at the time of its release. “I was struck by not only the propulsive narrative tension of these intersecting fates, but also by this story about the persistence of hope against a backdrop of darkness, a backdrop of war, a backdrop of a world in which evil is clearly possible and in which innocence and hope somehow survive. Those are beautiful themes.”

The book stayed with Levy, and now almost 10 years later, his adaptation is ready to see the light. The four episodes bring audiences into the lives, hopes, and fears of Marie-Laure and Werner, their stories serving as a connection point from the past to the present. “My hope is that audiences will engage with these characters and their humanity. I wish to God the story of All the Light wasn’t timely. I wish this was a snapshot of history that was irrelevant to the current day, both in Europe and in the United States, where intolerance and aggression are still all around us in ways that are heartbreaking,” Levy says. “Connection is redemption. Human connection is salvation. I believe that in these moments of connectivity where people feel acknowledged through either love or respect, those moments can save us.”

All interviews included in this piece were completed prior to July 14, 2023.