Melissa George can now be seen in "The Mosquito Coast." Photo courtesy of Apple TV+.
NEW YORK, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Melissa George says Season 2 of The Mosquito Coast focuses on and fleshes out her character Margot in ways she never expected since it veers dramatically from Paul Theroux's book and the movie adaptation that preceded her Apple TV+ drama series.
"I love that they gave me so much to do this season," George told UPI in a recent Zoom interview.
"I love that every [new] character that was introduced was someone pivotal to her journey - in the past or the present or the future," the 46-year-old Australian actress added. "Everyone I interacted with had something to do with Margot and what she did or what she's about to do."
New episodes of The Mosquito Coast air Friday. The show follows former college professor Margot and inventor Allie Fox (Justin Theroux) as they uproot their teen children Charlie (Gabriel Bateman) and Dina (Logan Polish) and attempt to live off the grid in Central America after running afoul of the U.S. government.
The reason the family flees is not specified in Season 1, but through the story the writers hint it was because of something illegal that the anti-establishment Allie did.
The first episode of Season 2 reveals, however, that it was actually Margot's environmental activism gone awry that made them all leave the country and change their identities.
"I like the fact when you see her and watch back Season 1, she's this very demure, quiet, loving mom and then you see them escape and she's super-good at it and very effective and very tough on the kids and packs a bag really quickly and drives like a maniac. We start to peel the layers," George said.
"It was done on purpose to show this librarian girl with these glasses and then you see her unravel into this warrior woman/mother. This season, you get to see all the things that you didn't think she was."
She was happy to reunite with Theroux with whom she worked on the film Mulholland Drive more than 20 years ago.
"I adore that man," she said. "A lot of the day was spent going, 'You know, you're looking really good for two decades later. You're really holding it together.' A lot of teasing each other."
There are many reasons why viewers might connect to the themes and characters of the show, George noted.
"I feel like, these days, everyone would like to escape to a place like Casa Roja and show their kids how to work as a family and help their community, not be run by government rules and not having to go here or there and being told what to do, no socialism or capitalism," she said. "I think that's the part of the show that is very relevant today."
However, after two years of playing a woman trying to do this, George realized it is the "most exhausting choice," even for a survivor such as Margot.
The discovery that their mother helped blow up a building, killing a woman, then hid that information for years, drives a wedge between Margot and her kids this season.
"They are quite separated, but I like the fact that she doesn't try to make them closer to her then. She's like: 'This is what's happened. This is what I've done. This is what's going on and that's life my darlings, my little cherubs,'" George said.
"That's the way life is when you're the daughter of Margot and Allie."
The Mosquito Coast was the first major acting job the Good Wife and Grey's Anatomy alum had taken on since the births of her sons Raphael, 8, and Solal, 7, and the gig came with both emotional and physical challenges.
"It was six months in the heat. Now, I'm not built for that -- just painting a picture," George said, adding that Margot wasn't either.
"Everything I did was no acting required. Luckily, they hired an Australian. We're a very hearty bunch."
George said she only accepted the role of Margot because she was allowed to go home to see her real kids every 10 days to two weeks.
"I would literally leave the jungle traumatized and I would go to Cancun and fly to France and pick up my little babies from school," the actress noted.
"I hadn't cleaned my nails. I had dirt from [the jungle] everywhere. That stuff sticks. And then it's like, 'Bonjour!' It's like a double life."