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HELEN MIRREN stars as "Mother" in the new adventure drama, "The Mosquito Coast," a Warner Bros. release.
HELEN MIRREN plays Allie Fox's wife, known by both husband and children as Mother. "Mother has a mythological quality," says Mirren, "a dream of what every man and every child would like their mother to be." Intelligent, outspoken, individualistic, Mirren has become one of the most respected actresses of her generation, appearing on stage in award-winning productions of "Miss Julie," "The Duchess of Malfi," "Teeth and Smiles" and "Extremities." Mirren has also played many of Shakespeare's leading women--including Lady Macbeth, Cleopatra, Ophelia in "Hamlet," Cressida in "Troilus and Cressida," and Titania in "A Midsummer Night's Dream." She spent one year working with Peter Brook's experimental theatre in Paris, Africa and America. In 1985, Mirren won the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival for her role in David Puttnam's production of "Cal." Her film credits include Michael Powell's "Age of Consent" (1969), Ken Russell's "Savage Messiah" (1972), Lindsay Anderson's "O Lucky Man!" (1973), Piers Haggard's "The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu" (1980), John Boorman's "Excalibur" (1981), John Mackenzie's "The Long Good Friday" (1982) and Peter Hyam's "2010" (1984). Last year, Mirren was seen as the Russian Ballerina Galina, ex-lover of Mikhail Baryshnikov in Taylor Hackford's "White Nights."
RIVER PHOENIX portrays Allie's young son Charlie, through whose eyes the story of "Mosquito Coast" is told. Fifteen-year-old Phoenix made his film debut last year as Wolfgang Muller, the youthful scientist in Joe Dante's "Explorers" and received critical acclaim for a larger role in Rob Reiner's dramatic film "Stand By Me." His latest feature credit is for the new film "Jimmy Reardon." River spent his childhood traveling in South and Central America with his parents, who were then independent Christian missionaries. Returning to the States at seven, he launched his career three years later with a role on the popular TV series "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers." His other television credits include "Celebrity," "Robert Kennedy and His Times," "Hotel," "It's Your Move," "Family Ties" and "Surviving: A Family in Crisis." Phoenix's four brothers and sisters are also successfully pursuing acting careers in television and film. "River is a natural actor," says Harrison Ford, "inventive, smart and susceptible to all kinds of influences. He is also very serious about his work." "I hate the 'actory' way of saying things," says Phoenix. "I just try to be in the scene's reality. Sometimes Harrison would say a line with more intensity and my reaction would be different." In addition to acting, River plays guitar and records his own original songs on his personal four-track machine. He would next like to appear "in an intelligent teenage comedy, if that's possible."
CONRAD ROBERTS takes the part of Mr. Haddy, the good-hearted Creole boatman who ferries the Fox family to their new jungle home. Born on the Caribbean island of Antigua, Roberts now makes his home in New York City. On stage, he has appeared in James Earl Jones's production of "The Cherry Orchard" and in Arthur Laurents' "The Enclave." His film credits include Irvin Kershner's "Up the Sandbox" (1972) and Michael Winner's "Firepower" (1979). Roberts is also a composer; his song "Inamorato" was recorded by Miles Davis. "I call this my first film," says Roberts, "the first time I've had the opportunity to play a fully-developed character like Haddy. And he is a delight to play: Haddy's an eccentric, a Pied Piper character, the personification of compassion and love."