'The Mosquito Coast' Is Based on a Novel By Paul Theroux (aka Justin Theroux's Uncle)

Is Justin Theroux's new Apple TV+ series, 'The Mosquito Coast,' based on a true story? The show is a remake of the 1986 film of the same name.

Shannon Raphael - Author

Apr. 26 2021, Updated 5:37 p.m. ET

'The Mosquito Coast'
Source: Instagram

For Justin Theroux, his return to the small screen in The Mosquito Coast is a family affair. Nearly four years after the actor wrapped his starring role on the HBO series The Leftovers, Justin is appearing in the Apple TV+ show as main character Allie Fox. 

The plot centers around Allie, an inventor, who decides to uproot his family by driving down to the Mosquito Coast. Their swift departure is due to Allie's disillusionment with the United States, and because he's concerned that danger is imminent.

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The series is based on a novel of the same name by Paul Theroux, who happens to be Justin's uncle. It was initially adapted for the big screen in 1986, and Harrison Ford was the first to take on the role of Allie Fox. 

Is The Mosquito Coast based on a true story? Keep reading to find out who inspired the character of Allie Fox.

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Is 'The Mosquito Coast' based on a true story?

The Apple TV+ show is a modern retelling of the 1981 novel of the same name, though there are a few key differences in terms of the plot. In the book, Allie, his wife, and their four children start driving toward Honduras once he begins to suspect that another world war is inevitable. Allie, a genius who is constantly inventing new things, is upset at how different his home country has become during his adulthood.

Along the way, the Fox family is delayed by missionaries, which adds another level of conflict to the plot.

In the first season of the show adaptation, Allie and his family are traveling to Honduras through Mexico because they are suspicious that they're being monitored by the government. During their travels, they get involved with a drug cartel, and they don't actually make it to their final destination in the first seven episodes. 

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These plot elements were changed from the book to the series in order to keep it more relevant for current times, and to allow for a potential second season. 

The book is not inspired by one true story, though there's long been speculation that Paul Theroux based Allie Fox on himself. 

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Paul denied that Allie is inspired off of him in a 2004 interview with Atlantic Unbound. He noted that Allie Long is "quite a far cry from [him]."

He did say that he constructed the character to be a combination of several people. One of them is fictional.

"Allie is based on many people I know — and even on Pap, Huck Finn's father," the author added.

In 2021, Paul elaborated on his inspiration to The New York Times. He confirmed that Allie is an amalgamation of a few well-known figures.

"It was the times, particularly the late '70s. Japan was flooding the U.S. market with cars and electronic goods. And bank interest rates were at 18 percent. People were blaming the government," he said.

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Allie was created when Paul thought about the type of person who would want to leave behind everything that they know on principle. 

"I was also thinking about Huckleberry Finn's father, and Jim Jones, and [the founder of Mormonism] Joseph Smith. I wanted to think of the personification of someone who wanted to leave the country and take his family with him and say: 'This isn't the country I grew up in. It's gone wrong. Let's go someplace,'" Paul continued.

Will 'The Mosquito Coast' return for Season 2?

The Apple TV+ show, which also stars Melissa George as Margot Fox, has been getting a lot of attention, but it hasn't officially been renewed for a second season. 

However, Justin told The New York Times that he is hoping to continue on with the show. 

"Hopefully, knock on wood, in subsequent seasons we’ll be getting more into the core themes of the book," Justin told the outlet. 

The Mosquito Coast will be available to stream on Apple TV+ beginning on April 30. 

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