Back in the autumn of 1986, a film adaptation of the Paul Theroux novel The Mosquito Coast made its way to film audiences under the able directing hand of Peter Weir (Dead Poets Society) and producer Saul Zaentz (The English Patient). The story was as deep and profound as it was entertaining; a real “head-thinker” we used to call these type of pictures. The story was simple enough: A disaffected American inventor uproots his family, moving them into the jungles of Central America, his sanity slowly sliding into the abyss. Hard stuff, but acted by an ensemble that knew the terrain well when it came to tough topics: Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, River Phoenix, Martha Plimpton, Conrad Roberts and Andre Gregory poured their hearts and souls into this film. So naturally it tanked upon initial release, only finding its audience in later years on cable and home video.
And now, through the good services of the fine folks at Variety comes the news that a remake of The Mosquito Coast is forthcoming, this time in the form of an ongoing series.
Apple has put in an order for a series remake of The Mosquito Coast which is set to star actor Justin Theroux, himself the nephew of author of the novel the film and series are based off of, Paul Theroux. Neil Cross is handling adaptation duties for this one and is pulling double-duty, too, as showrunner for the series. Both Cross and Tom Bissell will script the pilot episode. Rupert Wyatt has been tapped to direct multiple episodes as well as act as an executive producer. Joining in on the executive producing front also are Bob Bookman, Peter Jaysen and Alan Gasmer.
Other notable names in the acting world cast for this endeavor are Gabriel Bateman, Melissa George, Logan Polish, Kimberly Elise and Scotty Tovar. A release date has not yet been announced.
River Phoenix, years after the shoot for the film and during a period when he was receiving rapt praise for such daring Indie work as My Own Private Idaho, Silent Tongue and Dogfight still cited Mosquito Coast as his favorite movie of his entire filmography; coming from an actor of Phoenix’s power and gravitas, that’s high praise indeed and begs the question, decades after the release of the film, if the series will manage to find its way out of the shadow of its big screen brethren. Only time will tell.