Netflix's All The Light We Cannot See Casts Mark Ruffalo And Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie ("House," "Veep") and Mark Ruffalo ("Spotlight," "I Know This Much Is True") are the latest actors on board for Netflix's four-part limited series "All The Light We Cannot See," adapted from Anthony Doerr's best-selling novel of the same name. TV Line announced Laurie and Ruffalo's involvement in the World War II drama which tells the story of a blind French girl who crosses paths with a German boy named Werner. The series is penned by "Peaky Blinders" writer and co-creator Steven Knight and directed by Shawn Levy ("Shadow and Bone", "Stranger Things") who will also executive produce under his 21 Laps Entertainment.

Laurie will star as the estranged and reclusive Etienne LeBlanc, a World War I hero who suffers from PTSD and participates in the French Resistance by broadcasting cryptic messages over the radio. Etienne's nephew, Daniel LeBlanc, will be played by Ruffalo. Daniel works as the master locksmith at the Museum of Natural History in Paris and is the father of a young blind girl named Marie-Laure. Daniel holds the key to a secret gem that can potentially protect them from the Nazi occupation. His keen parenting skills have also prepared Marie for a life of independence despite growing up in a world of darkness both literally and figuratively.

Aria Mia Loberti will make her feature debut playing the role of Marie-Laure. Loberti is a recent Fulbright Scholar, current Ph.D. student in Rhetoric at Pennsylvania State University, as well as a former United Nations Youth Delegate. She is also legally blind. Despite her lack of formal acting training, Loberti impressed the casting director while a world-wide search for a blind actress was underway. A fan of the book herself, it seems like Loberti is a perfect fit and has another exciting venture to add to her already impressive resume.

Representation through Adaptation

Netflix was pretty adamant about casting a blind actress for the role of Marie-Laure. The casting directors put out an international call encouraging "blind or low-vision actresses" to audition. After the success of Millicent Simmonds in "A Quiet Place," Hollywood has been paying more attention to casting actors in roles that adequately represent their characters. This is not only a huge step in the right direction for representation on-screen but also allows new talent to shine. This is also a great opportunity for Aria Mia Loberti to provide insight to how best to work with blind actors on-set as well as provide further insight into her character. There is a lot of promise with this casting choice and the fact that producers are listening to the desire for diversification.

Starring opposite of Laurie and Ruffalo will be a fantastic experience in and of itself especially for a first-time actor. Both of these actors have a calm demeanor to their dramatic acting and are able to balance severe subject matter in an enthralling way. And if you haven't read Anthony Doerr's novel, I highly suggest doing so before this series comes out. It won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. The novel's characters are all well-rounded and full of heart despite a backdrop of death and peril. The way that the story is told through Marie's limited perspective is also quite captivating. I think I read the book over the course of three days because it was an engaging page-turner and not many books give me an emotional experience, but this one did the trick. Let's just hope the series has the same devastatingly beautiful effect.

"All The Light We Cannot See" is in pre-production and will premiere on Netflix at an undisclosed date.