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Netflix’s “All the Light We Cannot See” Authentically Casts Newcomer Aria Mia Loberti

Aria Mia Loberti headshot

Aria Mia Lobreti as self in All the Light We Cannot See. Cr. Ryan Collerd/Netflix © 2021

Los Angeles, Dec. 9 – Following a a worldwide search for blind and low vision actresses, Aria Mia Loberti will make her acting debut in the bestselling Pulitzer Prize winning adaptation of “All the Light We Cannot See.”

Loberti will play Marie-Laure, a blind teenager, whose path collides with Werner, a German soldier, as they both try to survive the devastation of World War II in occupied France. While she has no formal acting training, she beat out thousands of submissions.

She also is an advocate for people with disabilities, especially those who, like she, are blind or low-vision. These efforts have taken her from her small Rhode Island hometown to global forums like the United Nations, UN Women, TEDx, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, and beyond.

“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,” said Director and Executive Producer Shawn Levy. “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.”

Book Cover of All the Light We Cannot SeeLoberti learned about this casting search from a former childhood teacher. She had previously read the book and was a fan of the story.

“Inclusion of characters – and actors – with disabilities – must be an intentional effort; it will not happen by accident,” said Lauren Appelbaum, who leads RespectAbility’s Hollywood Inclusion efforts as the organization’s Vice President of Entertainment & News Media and author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit. “What we see on screen influences how we act in real life. By casting authentically for ‘All The Light We Cannot See,’ Netflix can help remove the stigmas that currently exist around interacting with blind individuals. Prioritizing both disabled actors and accurate portrayals on screen go a long way in helping to remove these stigmas.”

Currently a PhD student in Rhetoric at Penn State, Loberti received her Masters in 2021 from Royal Holloway University of London as a Fulbright Scholar and earned her undergraduate degrees in 2020 in Philosophy, Communication, and Political Science from the University of Rhode Island.

In addition to focusing on authentic casting, the production also hired Joe Strechay (See, The OA) to serve as Associate Producer, Blindness and Accessibility Consultant.

Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller “All The Light We Cannot See” will become an epic four-part Netflix limited series produced by Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps Entertainment (Stranger Things, Free Guy, Shadow and Bone, Arrival) and written by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders).  Levy is set to direct all episodes.

Meet the Author

Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the VP, Communications and Entertainment & News Media, of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so all people with disabilities can fully participate in every aspect of community. As an individual with an acquired nonvisible disability – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy – she works at the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. She regularly conducts trainings on the why and how to be more inclusive and accessible for entertainment executives throughout the industry. Appelbaum partners with studios, production companies and writers’ rooms to create equitable and accessible opportunities to increase the number of people with lived disability experience throughout the overall story-telling process. These initiatives increase diverse and authentic representation of disabled people on screen, leading to systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities. She has consulted on more than 100 TV episodes and films with A&E, Bunim-Murray Productions, NBCUniversal, Netflix, ViacomCBS, and The Walt Disney Company, among others. She represents RespectAbility on the CAA Full Story Initiative Advisory Council, Disney+ Content Advisory Council, MTV Entertainment Group Culture Code and Sundance Institute’s Allied Organization Initiative. She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit and the creator of an innovative Lab Program for entertainment professionals with disabilities working in development, production and post-production. She is a recipient of the 2020 Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award for this Lab. To reach her, email LaurenA@RespectAbility.org.

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