This interview was captured by Netflix pre-SAG-AFTRA strike.


One of the star-studded series that has long been anticipated to arrive on Netflix is All the Light We Cannot See, an adaptation series based on the novel of the same name by Anthony Doerr.

As well as being directed by Shawn Levy and written by Steven Knight, the new Netflix series also boasts some pretty starry cast additions in the form of Mark Ruffalo and Hugh Laurie.

While Ruffalo stars as Daniel LeBlanc, Museum of Natural History of Paris's curator, Laurie stars as Uncle Etienne, Daniel's uncle and Marie's great-uncle.

The character is a complex one, suffering from PTSD induced by the First World War, and now living with agoraphobia, meaning he hasn't left his house for years.

Speaking to Netflix about his character, Laurie revealed that, actually, he was initially not entirely comfortable taking on the role.

He said: "I was very taken with the character of Etienne. Although, I confessed to Shawn when we first spoke that I wasn’t sure I was the right person to do it, but then I never am. So, I have to make him responsible for that. It’s his fault.”

The actor, who is best known for roles in House, The Night Manager and Veep, delivers a thoughtful depiction of Etienne in the new series as he bonds with his great-niece Marie.

Aria Mia Loberti as Marie-Laure, Hugh Laurie as Etienne LeBlanc in All the Light We Cannot See sitting on rocks overlooking the sea with a fishing rod.
Aria Mia Loberti as Marie-Laure, Hugh Laurie as Etienne LeBlanc in All the Light We Cannot See. Netflix

Speaking more about his character, Laurie confessed that he is "damaged", explaining: "The source of the damage is something of a mystery. He had a traumatic experience in the first World War, and one of the consequences was that he withdrew to the walls of his own house in St Malo.

"He became terrified of the outside world, and developed a neurosis, which prevented him from ever leaving the house. And it is partly his relationship with Marie that encourages him to begin anew and to actually physically step outside his house, but also emotionally step outside of the trap that he’s built for himself.

"That’s a very touching element of the story; a slight Beauty and the Beast aspect where he’s trapped in this castle and she’s the one who lures him out into the light, so to speak."

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According to the synopsis, the series: "Follows the story of Marie-Laure, a blind French girl, and her father, Daniel LeBlanc, who flee German-occupied Paris with a legendary diamond to keep it from falling into the hands of the Nazis.

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"Relentlessly pursued by a cruel Gestapo officer who seeks to possess the stone for his own selfish means, Marie-Laure and Daniel soon find refuge in St Malo, where they take up residence with a reclusive uncle 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."

It continues: "Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner over the course of a decade, All The Light We Cannot See tells a story of the extraordinary power of human connection – a beacon of light that can lead us through even the darkest of times."

All the Light We Cannot See will premiere on Netflix on Thursday 2nd November 2023. Sign up for Netflix from £4.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is available to buy now.

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