“All the wardrobe had to be really broken down and had to look old, but well looked after,” reveals costume designer Justine Seymour about the specific challenges of her contemporary costume design on Apple TV Plus’ new seven-episode drama series “The Mosquito Coast.” The principle cast spend much of the series on the run, so the clothing had to reflect that in a nuanced way, as their look gets progressively more disheveled, dirty and worn. Watch our exclusive video interview with Seymour above.
“The Mosquito Coast” stars Justin Theroux (“The Leftovers”) as controversial idealist and inventor Allie Fox. Creator Neil Cross (“Luther”) developed the series based on Theroux’s uncle Paul Theroux‘s 1981 novel of the same name. Cross executive produces the series alongside both Justin and Paul Theroux, Edward L. McDonnell, Alan Gasmer, Peter Jaysen, Bob Bookman and Rupert Wyatt (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”), who directs the first two episodes.
The ambitious action drama follows the lives of the Fox family, who flee to Mexico on the run from the U.S. government. Melissa George (“In Treatment”) co-stars as Allie’s wife Margot alongside Logan Polish and Gabriel Bateman, who play their teenage children. While audiences may recall that “The Mosquito Coast” was previously adapted into Peter Weir‘s Harrison Ford-starring 1986 feature film, the new adaptation promises to be truer to the source material, delving into the motivations behind Allie’s quest to get off the grid and relocate his family away from the government forces that are after him.
“I couldn’t just go to Goodwill and buy old clothes, because we had stunt doubles and picture doubles, clothes that are going to be ruined and various stages of ageing,” Seymour explains about the climate and setting. “I bought six repeats of every single item I had in-camera, and we had a progression of ‘dirty-ness’ to take us through, because you notice that as they get out of the car they’re still clean and then by the time they arrive at the Hacienda they are just filthy with dust and sweat.”
Seymour agrees that designing for contemporary series also requires a more nuanced understanding of a character’s motivations, emotional state and the character’s story. “I think a lot about their basic psychology,” she says. “Are they an extrovert? Introvert? And whether they’re being challenged within that scene and the narrative of the story is incredibly important for it to work visually and also to support their own deep inner character.”
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