Justin Theroux's uncle, Paul Theroux, wrote the book that inspired the actor’s latest TV project, The Mosquito Coast

By Ally Mauch
April 27, 2021 03:00 PM
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Has the world been pronouncing Justin Theroux's name wrong this whole time? 

His uncle, author Paul Theroux, says so in PEOPLE's exclusive first look at The Mosquito Coast — A Theroux Family Affair, a new video from Apple TV+ exploring the family connections behind the upcoming show starring Justin, 49. 

Set to premiere April 30, The Mosquito Coast is adapted from a 1981 novel of the same name, written by Paul. It follows the journey of a radical idealist and brilliant inventor, Allie Fox (Theroux) who uproots his family for Mexico when they suddenly find themselves on the run from the U.S. government.

"The Mosquito Coast was written by my Uncle Paul, who I am the middle namesake of him, Justin Paul Theroux," the actor begins in the new clip. 

"The main character is played by Justin Theroux, my nephew," Paul then adds, pronouncing the name tha-roo. "Sometimes he calls himself Justin tha-row. It's a French name, it's Theroux." 

justin theroux

Later in the video, the nephew-uncle pair discuss the inspirations behind the book and how Justin came to be involved with the Apple TV+ project. 

"I remember this book came out in the early to mid-80s, when I was a kid," Justin says. "I actually read it maybe a couple of years after it came out. This thing reeks of nepotism but my manager said they're doing Mosquito Coast and I said 'Let's track it.' Then I read it and fell in love with it and was actually actively pursuing it."

"I didn't know that he was auditioning," Paul says. "I didn't know that he was involved in it. I didn't even know that he had a great passion for the book. I'm really delighted that he did it, and there are some lines that are not in the book that are in the series that Justin has channeled from family history." 

Justin then offers a bit of that family history, revealing that the main character is partly inspired by his grandfather. 

"It's hard to give a little family background without giving a lot of family background, but the character of Allie Fox in the book is based loosely on multiple family members," the American Psycho actor says. "One of them, it's safe to say, is my grandfather, Albert Theroux who was a very industrious man." 

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Paul also notes the slight differences between his novel and the upcoming series. 

"In the book Allie Fox is driving himself. The Allie Fox in the series, he's a man pursued," he says. "It's the same spirit with a different setting." 

"The character of Allie Fox is a person who's genuinely trying to give his children a better life and his family a better life," adds Justin. 

"In a way it has come full circle," Paul concludes. "I was writing about my family and now a member of my family is in it."

The Mosquito Coast premieres globally on Apple TV+ with the first two episodes on April 30, followed by new episodes every Friday.