You could possibly be forgiven for considering that there was some type of insider buying and selling occurring when Justin Theroux was introduced to play the lead in The Mosquito Coast, a seven-part Apple TV+ sequence primarily based on a guide written by his uncle: it’s a undertaking, actually, together with his title written throughout it. But the 49-year-old actor, who has just a few years on Harrison Ford from when he starred in Peter Weir’s 1986 adaptation of Paul Theroux’s novel, insists that it got here to him identical to every other alternative. “It was really just the normal channels,” he shrugs.
Today, Theroux appears particularly nonchalant, taking a Zoom name in his New York kitchen and searching disconcertingly like Super Mario together with his black woolly hat and furry Magnum ’stache. “I heard about it, I tracked it, and I asked to read it,” he remembers. “I liked the script a lot, and it just worked out. It wasn’t some grand scheme I’d cooked up or anything.”
‘The Mosquito Coast’ Lands Second Season On Apple TV+
But then, uncle Paul’s guide is hardly the fabric for a sure-fire hit. Weir’s movie flopped within the States and was a uncommon industrial misfire for Ford, who performs Allie Fox, a disillusioned American father who takes his household to the wilds of Nicaragua and Honduras to flee the city jungle of the USA. Adapted by screenwriters Neil Cross and Tom Bissell, the Apple TV+ sequence provides extra urgency to the scenario: the place the unique Allie was an emigrant, within the revamp he’s a fugitive, a person of many identities and stunning hidden skills who must uproot his spouse and two youngsters quick when the police lastly come calling. In sharp distinction to the novel, Allie’s spouse Margot (Melissa George) and daughter Dina (Logan Polish) aren’t afraid to get their palms soiled within the tense adventures that comply with.
Although the guide’s method to storytelling is as episodic because the present’s is, Cross and Bissell flip the warmth proper up. Like the ’60s TV present The Fugitive, it’s a narrative that jumps from cliffhanger to cliffhanger because the household make their journey south, with an particularly tense episode involving a Mexican cartel. Surprisingly, this wasn’t within the authentic pitch. “When I signed up for it,” says Theroux, “it was only the first two episodes [that were] already written. But the way that Neil had pitched it to me was that, yes, we were going to have this fire on their backs through the first season, to essentially get us to the Mosquito Coast.”
With this, Theroux nearly confirms that the primary seven hours of the present are successfully a warm-up for the occasions of the just lately commissioned Season 2. “Obviously, once we get to whatever Allie’s Shangri-La is, we’ll still take some liberties. But once we’ve landed, I think that’s when we’re really going to be able to crack it open. I don’t want to spoil anything or say anything, because,” he laughs, “I actually don’t even really know myself!”
Interestingly, although the present’s opening episodes alternate between empty expanses of desert and claustrophobic interiors, these weren’t stylistic decisions imposed by the COVID-19 lockdown. “We were dead center in our season when it hit us,” he says. “It was the beginning of episode five, I guess. We were in Mexico City, shooting in an incredibly large open-air meat and goods market. One of those places that has people shoulder to shoulder, and pigs hanging in the aisles and in the stalls. It was an incredibly uncomfortable place to be when you’re learning that there’s a fast-moving pandemic moving through the world. And then I went out of the frying pan and directly into the fire by coming back to New York, where I spent the majority of the lockdown pacing my apartment like the rest of us.”
After that, getting again into Allie Fox’s world was not an issue, he says. “We were one of the first productions going back into a production. And to Apple’s credit they did a fabulous job of really creating as bulletproof a bubble as we could’ve possibly created, by keeping everyone in location and doing rigorous testing. I was thrilled to be there. I loved working again and throwing myself back into it, because I’d been sitting on my hands for months.”
Theroux freely admits that he had not been particularly productive in these intervening months, which is stunning on condition that his spectacular writing credit embody Zoolander 2, Iron Man 2, Tropic Thunder and, most bizarrely, Rock of Ages. “I definitely wasn’t wanting to write during the lockdown,” he says. “As you know—or maybe don’t know—everyone thinks they’re going to come out of the pandemic with their great novel or their best screenplay. And the truth of the matter was, we were all terrified, certainly to write comedy. Every idea you dust off, you think, ‘Maybe I’ll write about that…’ But you can’t, because you’re just constantly thinking you’re having a tickle in your throat, and you need to disinfect the door knob. I’d love to say that I was very productive. But what I was productive at was embracing my presence and having that monastic lifestyle that a lot of us had, which was: wake up, cook food, walk the dog, and be in the present.”
It’s this low-key perspective and philosophical way of living that explains how Theroux managed to marry and separate from Jennifer Aniston with the minimal of media consideration. In quick, he isn’t a showoff. “I wasn’t one of those kids that was doing impersonations and saying, ‘I’m going to go to Hollywood,’” he remembers. Born in Washington, he went to liberal arts faculties and had a “well-rounded education”, and after transferring to New York within the ’90s, he graduated with a double main in visible arts and drama. “So, I decided to pursue both,” he says, “because both are such unsteady fields. I thought, ‘Well, if I can strike a little rich in each one then maybe I could cobble together a life for myself.’ And that’s a wonderfully naive thing to do when you’re 20 or 21.”
Theroux labored in golf equipment and eating places, doing massive anime and graffiti-style murals. “I would do anything,” he says. “I would do t-shirts for bars and clubs. Flyers, a couple of billboards, things like that.” Completely by likelihood, his first movie function was set in that world: I Shot Andy Warhol, about Valerie Solanas, the rogue feminist who tried to assassinate the legendary pop artist in 1968. More movie roles adopted slowly however steadily and really unpredictably: his subsequent movie was the klutzy Romy And Michelle’s High School Reunion.
When did he notice that he had a profession? “I still haven’t,” he laughs. “It sounds a little cheeky, but, honestly, I’ve been very lucky. I describe it as just tripping upstairs. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, there’s certainly no plan. If I’ve done anything smart, it’s been by trusting my gut, which has led me astray many times. But overall, it’s served me well because I’ve been able to have a very varied career.”
That serendipity led him to David Lynch, who solid him as a Hollywood director in 2001’s trippy thriller Mulholland Drive. “Someone threw a horseshoe and I got hit in the head by it,” he laughs. In a spooky foreshadowing of the long run, his character is being pressured to solid an actress, performed by his Mosquito Coast co-star Melissa George. “David is the most gloriously unplugged person,” says Theroux. “You can mention the most famous actor working and he’ll go, ‘Who’s that?’ You’ll be like, ‘His name’s George Clooney. He started on ER.’ He really exists in his own universe in the most wonderful way.”
Theroux returned 5 years later for Lynch’s final function movie up to now, the willfully weird Inland Empire, a psychedelic story during which a cursed movie manufacturing results in homicide, hip-swinging musical numbers and folks with rabbit heads. Did he perceive it? “I don’t think it’s even a question of understanding it,” he grins. “I have theories, of course, but I’ve often thought of most his films as like great jazz records, like John Coltrane or something. You don’t ever go, ‘Do I understand that record?’ You go, ‘No, but I loved it.’”
Surprisingly, Theroux has solely directed as soon as, with the 2007 Sundance entry Dedication, during which Billy Crudup performs a disillusioned youngsters’s writer. Will he direct once more? “I’d like to,” he says, “I really would. At one point, I was going to direct Zoolander 2, and then I ended up doing The Leftovers, and that got in the way. It’s really a question of timing because in order to do it, you have to clear the slates for at least a year and-a-half. I’ll either write something that I really adore and feel like I have to direct, or something will come to me.”
In the meantime, it appears Theroux gained’t precisely have any spare time on his palms within the close to future. We converse on Memorial Day, throughout a break from filming the upcoming HBO restricted sequence The White House Plumbers, a comedy set within the early ’70s Nixon period that he’s at the moment taking pictures with Woody Harrelson. “That should take me until, I think, October,” he muses. “It’s about the Watergate break-in and the masterminds who came up with it. It’s really just a hilarious retelling of the actual true story of how they came up with the idea—the execution of it and their ultimate downfall.”
“Hence the terrible moustache,” he explains apologetically. “It’s not a moustache you choose to put on. I guess some people do. If you’re Tom Selleck maybe.”