‘Mosquito Coast’ proved to be family affair for Justin Theroux

Rick's Reviews

The new Apple TV+ series “The Mosquito Coast” stars (from left) Melissa George, Logan Polish, Gabriel Bateman and Justin Theroux. (Photo courtesy of Apple TV+)

(KGET) — Justin Theroux (“The Leftovers”) didn’t have to do any research to be able to play the character of Allie Fox in the new Apple TV+ seven-episode series “The Mosquito Coast.” He went into the project with a long history with the novel written by Paul Theroux.

“He is my uncle. My uncle Paul,” Justin Theroux says. “I have a long history with the novel only insofar as that I read it when I was a kid.  I was only probably, I don’t know, 12 or 13 when it came out.  And there’s been a movie made of it so I’ve obviously, sort of seen many, iterations of it.

“I also, sort of anecdotally, have an intimate knowledge of certain aspects of Allie Fox, because it’s our suspicion, or my suspicion, and it’s been corroborated that it’s based loosely on certain members of our family, my grandfather, who had a certain thriftiness to him.”

The streaming service series – being released April 30 to mark the 40th anniversary of the book’s initial release – is a drama that follows the journey of a radical idealist and brilliant inventor who must change the life of family when they suddenly find themselves on the run from the U.S. government.

The cast also includes Melissa George, Logan Polish and Gabriel Bateman.

Theroux knew his character well from reading the novel. But, he had to adjust to some changes once he got to work because the series is not a direct interpretation of his uncle’s work. The novel serves only as the basis for the production that was created by Neil Cross.

“This is Allie seen through a slightly different prism,” Theroux says. “As with any great character, I think you’ll see an evolution to this character in subsequent episodes.”

One way Cross has been able to build his own version of “The Mosquito Coast” world is to have the series unfold as a prequel to what unfolds in the book. Theroux found as he was creating the character that Cross had maintained the essence of the character but was able to present the story in a fresh way. He calls the way Cross approached the project as being full of “bold moves.”

Cross entered the project with great respect for the work. He says that he has had a “very long-standing, lifelong relationship” with Paul Theroux despite the fact they have never met. The reason he considers there is such a close bond with the writer has come through reading his books.

The respect is a matter of one writer appreciating another. Before taking on the role of executive producer of “The Mosquito Coast,” Cross had established his own literary credits as a novelist (Luther: The Calling) and scriptwriter. He created the drama series “Luther” and “Crossbones.”

“Being offered the opportunity to adapt ‘The Mosquito Coast’ was really the culmination of something I didn’t know I wanted to do, which was engage with the story told by a writer that I’ve loved and who has informed my life for my entire life,” Cross says. “And part of the intention of the show is not just to honor – if that’s not too strong a word – what Paul did with Allie Fox and the creation of the standing character, but to engage in some way with Paul Theroux’s entire world view both with the novels he’s written and the travel literature that he’s written with all of which I’m very, very familiar.”

More action and adventure

Michael B. Jordan (“Black Panther”) describes himself as “an action junkie.” That would explain why the first film to be produced under the banner of his production company would be “Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse.”

The new film slated to be available on the streaming service of Amazon Prime starting April 30, is the latest big action-meets-politics thriller based on the works of Clancy. Jordan plays a Navy SEAL who uncovers an international conspiracy while seeking justice for the murder of his pregnant wife. He’s joined on his mission by a fellow SEAL (Jodie Turner-Smith) and a shadowy CIA agent (Jamie Bell).

“This was a learning curve for me. I walk away from this movie with more knowledge and experience in how to put these movies together,” Jordan says. “I think we walked away with something we can be really happy about.”

Jordan’s addiction to action doesn’t stop at him being a producer. As the star of the action-heavy production, Jordan did many of his own stunts including working underwater for extended periods.

In regards to stunt work, Jordan stresses that big action movies were his favorite when growing up and he knew that if he ever had the chance to be in one, he would do as much of his own stunt work as possible.

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