“I took to it like a duck to water in terms of understanding very early on that I would have an opportunity to do something that felt very close to home for me, which is to tell a story of a man who rages against the machine,” reveals director/producer Rupert Wyatt about his enthusiasm to work on Apple TV Plus’ seven-episode dramatic thriller “The Mosquito Coast.”
“It’s sort of something that I have been long been fascinated by from the storytelling perspective,” he shares when connecting some of the themes of the show to his past work. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
“The Mosquito Coast” is based on the 1981 novel by acclaimed author Paul Theroux, the uncle of the show’s star Justin Theroux (“The Leftovers”), who plays Allie Fox, an idealistic inventor who uproots his family on a dangerous quest through Mexico to flee the U.S. government. The ambitious action drama was developed by Neil Cross (“Luther”) and author Tom Bissell, who executive produce the series alongside Wyatt, who directs the first two episodes, both Justin and Paul Theroux, Edward L. McDonnell, Alan Gasmer, Peter Jaysen and Bob Bookman.
The series reunites Theroux with his “Mulholland Drive” co-star Melissa George (“In Treatment”), who plays Allie’s mysterious wife Margot Fox alongside Logan Polish and Gabriel Bateman, who play their teenage children. “The Mosquito Coast” was previously adapted into Peter Weir‘s Harrison Ford-starring 1986 feature film, however, this new adaptation is 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, serving more as a prequel of sorts.
Like any new television series, there are often a number of directors who collectively bring the writers and creator’s vision to life. On “Mosquito Coast”, while also serving as executive producer, Wyatt directed the first two episodes, so his contribution to the overall look and feel of the show is significant because he is responsible for establishing the visual style and emotional tone of the show.
“It’s challenging; I have likened it to being a tailor rather than a clothes designer,” he admits about the pressures of taking the reins on a series pilot and second episode. “Any storytelling in the realm of film-making or television and streaming, it’s a collaborative process, first and foremost. The auteur theory of European cinema and film-making is in reality a bit of a fallacy in the contemporary sense. I don’t say that to be cynical. It takes a village to tell stories with the ambition of modern-day film-making,” he says. “The most important thing for me is to know from the script that I’m aligned with the creator, in this instance Neil. He’s tonally a very deft and strong writer, so I could tell immediately that his choice when to come into scenes, when to leave scenes really matched my gut instinct.”
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