The new Apple TV+ series The Mosquito Coast follows mad political inventor Allie Fox and his family in the events prior to the famed 1981 Paul Theroux novel, which was adapted into a Golden Globe-nominated 1986 movie starring Harrison Ford.
Playing Fox is the author’s nephew Justin Theroux. Fox is still a quirky guy, pulling his family into his renegade belief system and into a life where they’re continually on the run from the authorities. In the movie, Fox (played by Ford in the film) has developed a great invention that turns fire into ice. He takes it down to Central America where he transforms a local community into an utopian society. The Apple TV+ series lays out the incidents that lead Fox, his wife Margot (Melissa George) and his daughter Dina (Logan Polish) and son Charlie (Gabriel Bateman) down south.
“The guy in the book and the guy in the film belong to a very particular set of political, economic and historical circumstances,” Mosquito Coast EP/showrunner and creator Neil Cross said during the series’ panel at Deadline’s Contenders Television awards-season event, where he was joined by Theroux, George and director/EP Rupert Wyatt. “Step one that we took was who would that guy be now?”
Justin Theroux says, natch, that Uncle Paul is “extremely happy” with the prequel version of the series.
While Ford in the feature plays a guy who eventually goes mad, it’s not part of Justin Theroux’s m.o. to push the boundaries of Fox’s mental state.
“He’s obviously a forward leaning and a very complicated man. He’s sort of a zealot for himself,” the actor said. “He definitely has flaws. He definitely has opinions. He definitely has conviction around certain things, primarily his family. The fun in playing him, and hopefully the fun in watching him is — and if we’ve done our job — you’ll find him charismatic and infuriating. It’s really sort of playing with the volume knob on those qualities he has.”
“The book has its own finite ending,” he added, “but it’s sort of still TBD for Neil in what areas we want to start to play in if we’re lucky to get a second season, and a third and fourth.”
Check back Monday for the panel video.
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