Acclaimed novel “All the Light We Cannot See” is landing the small screen treatment courtesy of Shawn Levy‘s vision for a Netflix limited series.
Mark Ruffalo and newcomer Aria Mia Loberti star as a father-daughter duo who escape German-occupied Paris to flee the Nazis. The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Anthony Doerr was adapted by “Peaky Blinders” scribe Steven Knight.
The official synopsis reads: The series follows the story of Marie-Laure (Loberti), a blind French girl and her father, Daniel LeBlanc (Ruffalo), who flee German-occupied Paris with a legendary diamond to keep it from falling into the hands of the Nazis. Relentlessly pursued by a cruel Gestapo officer who seeks to possess the stone for his own selfish reasons, Marie-Laure and Daniel soon find refuge in St. Malo, where they take up residence with a reclusive uncle (Hugh Laurie) who transmits clandestine radio broadcasts as part of the resistance. Yet here in this once-idyllic seaside city, Marie-Laure’s path also collides inexorably with the unlikeliest of kindred spirits: Werner, a brilliant teenager enlisted by Hitler’s regime to track down illegal broadcasts, who instead shares a secret connection to Marie-Laure as well as her faith in humanity and the possibility of hope.
Nell Sutton, Lars Eidinger, and Marion Bailey also star in the limited series which takes place over the course of a decade. The series debuted at TIFF.
“Many qualified producers and writers before me had tried to turn this book into a movie, but it didn’t work out because there was too much story. There’s such a rich tapestry of characters and events in the book, and telling that story in two hours was all but impossible,” Levy told Netflix as to why he opted to adapt the novel into a series instead of a film. “By the time we got the rights, limited series had evolved to become a pedigreed cinematic form that allowed for longer-form storytelling on television. We didn’t want to compress it into two hours, but we also wanted to avoid stretching it out into eight or nine.”
Levy continued, “So I approached this series as if it were a four-hour film. I hired the same crew and artistic collaborators from my movies, and we were all dedicated to transposing the beauty of the book and screenplays onto the screen. If I’m going to do my job and tell this story the way I think this story deserves, it has to be cinematic no matter the format.”
Levy enlisted “The Adam Project” actor Ruffalo for the miniseries. Ruffalo told Netflix of working with Levy again, “It was great to reunite with Shawn. We had such a good time on ‘The Adam Project.’
I was reticent about going back to Hungary. I had just shot there and I wanted to be home with my family, but he said to me, ‘I want to do something beautiful with this story and I want to do it with you.’ And that meant a lot to me. He moved heaven and earth to get me there and really believed in me for the part. What was wonderful was just seeing him fly in that genre, which is something he’d never
done before. He knew exactly what he was doing, though. He innately understood the story in a deep way.”
In addition to Levy, Dan Levine, and Steven Knight executive produce, with Mary McLaglen, Josh McLaglen, and Rand Geiger producing.
“All the Light We Cannot See” will premiere November 2 on Netflix. Check out the trailer below.