Justin Theroux has spoken about starring in the new adaptation of his uncle’s novel The Mosquito Coast, saying he didn’t believe he would ever have the opportunity to make it.
The actor leads the cast in a new take on Paul Theroux (father of Louis)’s 1981 work, which really is a family affair.
The new Apple TV Plus series focuses on Justin’s eccentric and idealist father character Allie Fox, who is forced to uproot his family and relocate to Latin America to keep them off the grid as they’re pursued by police.
The book was a critical success after it was published in 1981, and was made into a film in 1986 with Harrison Ford in the lead role, but this is the first time it’s been serialised for TV.
The absorbing series, while a slow burn, is an intriguing new take on the novel – and one that Justin wasn’t sure he’d get to take part in.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk, Justin said: ‘I would be lying if I said it was always something I wanted to be a part of. It was more something I didn’t think I would ever have the opportunity to be a part of.’
Justin Theroux stars in the first TV adaptation of the Mosquito Coast (Picture: Apple TV+)
He added: ‘It would never have even occurred to me to serialise it, but it did occur to Apple and to (Luther creator and creative force behind Mosquito Coast) Neil Cross.’
Justin wasn’t instrumental in the project getting off the ground. In fact, the wheels were firmly in motion by the time he came on board and after a big ‘family chat’ with Paul and Louis, Justin decided to sign up.
‘I’m very chuffed to be able to be a part of it. It was kind of a happy accident. It was already sort of in the pipeline and happening, and then I was made aware of it. I sort of raised my hand and said, “Hey, let’s look into that.”’
The series sees Justin’s character Allie head to exotic locations after leaving the US behind, which involved shooting in sun-drenched Mexico.
The series sees an American family uproot and flee to Latin America (Picture: La Pictures5)
Filming wasn’t hampered by the impact of Covid-19 – in fact, Justin felt safer on set than he did back home in New York.
‘We were shooting in one of the largest open air markets in Mexico,’ Justin said. ‘So that was a good piece of timing.
‘Once we went back, I felt safer than I’d ever felt in the pandemic. That’s a big tip of the hat to our immunologists and medical doctors and nurses to make that happen. Once we came back to shooting, we were doing essentially what the US should have been doing from the beginning, which is testing, testing, testing.
‘So I weirdly felt less safe when I left the production in Mexico and came back to New York, which was spiking wildly at the time around Christmas.’
Justin Theroux stars in the adaptation of his uncle’s novel (Pictur: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
While compelling and engaging, there’s a darkness to Justin’s role, and the actor revealed that he wanted to bring in elements of American cult leader and mass murderer Jim Jones in his performance.
‘Ally fox is not Jim Jones, let’s be clear,’ he said. ‘But there’s an element of him in his ideology – a bit of a cult leader.’
‘If we’ve done our job correctly, I think you will hopefully find him charismatic and infuriating. I don’t want him to feel oppressive or like a villain but more sort of like an antihero.’
‘There’s definitely times where I want you to be rooting for him and times where I feel like you should be rooting against him.’
The actor is clearly invested in the project, which has significant family ties for him – so can we expect to see a second series?
‘We’re optimistic that there will be,’ Justin said. ‘Anything can happen, but we’re hopeful.’
The Mosquito Coast lands on Apple TV Plus on April 30.
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