The long wait is over.
The Mosquito Coast returned to Apple TV+ last week for its second season, and fans are finally starting to get the answers to all of their lingering questions from the show’s first season — chief among them, why the Fox family is on the run from the U.S. government and assorted bad actors.
Justin Theroux, whose uncle, Paul Theroux, wrote the original novel on which the series is based, stars as brilliant but stubborn inventor Allie Fox, while Australian actress Melissa George plays his loyal and determined wife, Margot, and Logan Polish and Gabriel Bateman co-star as their kids.
With the show’s sophomore season now underway, expect the Foxes to wind up at a refugee community in the Guatemalan jungle, where they find themselves caught in the middle of a skirmish involving a local drug lord and his family. It all leads to trouble between Margot and Allie, who no longer see eye-to-eye on how to best navigate everything that’s happening around them.
George broke out on the Aussie soap Home and Away before making her way to the States, where she went on to star in movies such as Steven Soderbergh‘s The Limey, The Amityville Horror, and 30 Days of Night, and appear on hit TV shows such as Alias, In Treatment, and The Good Wife.
In The Mosquito Coast, George brings Margot to vivid life, as the character is smart, angry, loving, and frequently conflicted about her past and possible future. Above the Line recently caught up with the actress over a Zoom call in which she teased Season 2, discussed the good luck that brought the show’s cast together, and explained why she likes to jump back and forth between features and television series.
Above the Line: How happy were you with Season 1, and what were you most excited to explore in Season 2?
Melissa George: I was thrilled with Season 1. I thought that the direction and everything went exactly as I had hoped. When they renewed us for Season 2, I had a fair idea [of] where we were going to head with the character. I knew that Margot had such a bigger presence in Season 2, and I’m really proud that they stuck to their promise. She has a lot to do this season.
ATL: Margot is a really meaty character. What’s your sense of what she wants, and what drives her? And are they the same thing?
George: No, she’s all over the place, I would say, with her needs and wants, but she’s in survival mode. She has to look after herself, and she has to look after her kids. She could look after her husband, too, but they are basically like this (she mimics butting heads with her fists) the whole time. Then you realize that’s because they were separated. The reason that they’re on the run paints this entire picture of the two of them, and you realize that that’s why they’re against each other, yet they can’t live without each other at the same time. It’s a very dysfunctional, yet functional, relationship.
ATL: What’s worse — what Margot left behind, where she’s heading, or what awaits her back home?
George: That’s what she asks herself. So much of where she is today was from an accident, something that she could have prevented but didn’t, and I feel she’s paying the price. She just wants to correct her wrongs, and it’s proving to be more and more difficult. It’s interesting. Everywhere she goes, America follows her. The one thing that she’s trying to escape keeps showing up. They’re trying to escape capitalism and socialism, all these things, but yet she can’t. No matter where her physical presence is, whether or not she’s in the middle of an island, something will show up that’s from her past. That just goes to show that no matter what you do, karma will follow you.
ATL: What kind of a set family have you guys formed between yourself, Justin, Gabriel, and Logan?
George: We’ve been together since 2019. We’ve been filming in the most random, harsh, exciting conditions that I couldn’t imagine any people would actually live through. We’ve come out of it more and more in love, and more together. That, I’m really proud of.
ATL: It shows onscreen. Even though you’re sometimes playing a family at odds, you can see there’s affection at the foundation…
George: You can’t buy that. You can’t even cast that. That’s just luck, I would say. It’s just getting the right personalities and having the right team of people together, then hoping for the best. We got very lucky.
ATL: You have jumped back and forth in your career between films and television. What makes you say “yes” to a project when an offer comes in, and what makes you willing to audition, if that’s a requirement?
George: I’ve watched the audition process, how you do it, and I find that part quite exciting — except for this particular job, I did not want to audition for Margot at all, because I knew I was Margot. In my deep thoughts and my instinct, I knew I was Margot. So, why would I have to prove it to everybody? I had this attitude, and it went on for many months until the point where they said, ‘Stop! We need to see your Margot.’ It all just came out, and thank God I got her because — to me — I was convinced that I was her anyway. Sometimes it doesn’t go that particular way in a career.
And I do go between both [film and TV]. It’s just a feeling. I remember reading The Mosquito Coast and reading the dialogue between [Margot] and her husband. There’s the fact that they have kids. I had two kids in my life. She was a survivor. I consider myself a survivor in many aspects. The dialogue was amazing. Rupert [Wyatt], who came on board to direct the first two episodes (of Season 1), is one of my favorite directors. Sometimes you get lucky. I chose a TV project because I got to play Margot for 10 episodes, versus an hour and a half (in a movie).
Season 1 of The Mosquito Coast is now streaming on Apple TV+, and Season 2 is currently releasing weekly episodes through January 2023.