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Further Phoenix
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John Phoenix


Stand By Me

The Mosquito Coast

Harrison Ford

Saul Zaentz

Peter Weir

Paul Schrader

The Mosquito Coast (Novel)

Paul Theroux


Wil Wheaton

Charlie Fox

Helen Mirren


Martha Plimpton

Emily Spellgood

Reverend Spellgood

Jerry Fox


Jadrien Steele

Hilary Gordon

Rebecca Gordon

April Fox

Clover Fox

Dick O'Neill

Mr Polski

Andre Gregory
Rio's Attic: Celebrating the Life and Times of a Dearly Missed River Phoenix
Page One
American EnglishEn Français

The Mosquito Coast

Released By:Saul Zaentz
Director:Peter Weir
Screenplay:Paul Schrader

Harrison Ford
as Allie Fox

Helen Mirren
as Mother

River Phoenix
as Charlie Fox

Jadrien Steele
as Jerry Fox

Hilary & Rebecca Gordon
as April & Clover Fox

Dick O'Neill
as Mr Polski

Andre Gregory
as Reverend Spellgood

Martha Plimpton
as Emily Spellgood

"We eat when we're not hungry, drink when we're not thirsty.
We buy what we don't need and throw away everything that's useful.
Why sell a man what he wants? Sell him what he doesn't need!
Pretend he's got eight legs and two stomachs and money to burn.
It's wrong! Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Based on the novel The Mosquito Coast by author Paul Theroux, the film portrays the Fox family dropping out and leaving America for a new life in the South American jungle.

"Goodbye America, and have a nice day!"

Filmed in Belize on a tight budget, The Mosquito Coast was rubbished by the critics and was a financial failure. River's performance was highly praised however. "I felt much better about my work than I did about my performance in Stand By Me," River would later say.

Director Peter Weir wanted Wil Wheaton to play the role of Charlie Fox and turned River down on two occasions because he felt River was too old for the part. Eventually though, when Weir discovered the extraordinary similarities between the lives of River Phoenix and Charlie Fox, River was cast. Charlie Fox's parents were played by Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren.

River was soon to look upon Harrison Ford not only as a friend but also a mentor and would receive tuition in the various acting techniques. "Harrison was very down to earth. He's very wise too," said River.

Of the character he brought to life, River said, "I had a kind of identity crisis. I liked Charlie Fox's character a lot and it was a great experience for me. I knew that character so well because I was the character. I knew his whole past."

John Phoenix, River's father, supervised his fifteen-year-old son throughout the making of the film but grew increasingly concerned about the movie's plot and the similarities with the Phoenix family's life as missionaries in Venezuela. Fearing his son was growing further and further away from him John constantly tried to persuade River to take a trip to Guatemala during the filming. Showing great maturity for a fifteen-year-old, River refused saying, "I have to learn my lines and I have a responsibility to be on the set and be rested."

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