Mike Ostroski joins us on Close-Up Culture to chat about his exciting role in season 2 of the AppleTV+ Drama, The Mosquito Coast.
Based on the best-selling novel by Paul Theroux, the series follows radical idealist and brilliant inventor Allie Fox (Theroux), on a dangerous journey after uprooting his family for Mexico and suddenly on the run from the US government. The second season picks up with the Foxes venturing into the Guatemalan jungle to meet up with an old friend and her community of refugees, including the protectively distrustful Ridley (Ostroski). When a conflict between the Foxes and a drug lord arises, the refugees might not be so helpful, leaving the Foxes at odds and splitting them apart, possibly forever.
Hi Mike, you star in season 2 of AppleTV+ Drama, The Mosquito Coast. What excited you about being a part of this project?
MIKE: I’m a huge fan of the book. Also, Season One of Apple’s series was outstanding. I thought it was creative and brave in all the best ways. I was thrilled to be able to contribute to this important story and to work with this amazing cast.
You play an expat called Ridley. What insight can you give us to this character and your approach to the role?
MIKE: Ridley’s got a rough exterior, but it protects a guy who’s finally found a place and a group of people that I believe makes him feel genuinely needed. This feeling is new for him after living a pretty wild life along the fringes. Once you experience that unique feeling of being a part of something really important, sometimes you’ll do anything to keep it safe.
The project included night shoots in the jungle and hours under a blazing sun. How did you find the filming experience?
MIKE: The location was so beautiful. Yes, it was challenging at times physically, but that was a more than worthwhile trade-off for being in such a stunning place. And my scene partners and crew were all so good at their jobs and so passionate. Any difficulty was calmed by being around and working with such great folk.
What will be your biggest takeaway from working on The Mosquito Coast?
MIKE: New dear friends. You never know when you might meet someone or a group of people you’ll want to stay in touch with forever. I met some amazing people on this project. Also, we shot in Mexico’s Riviera Maya of the Yucatán Peninsula. There is an environmental activism aspect to the story that in some ways mirrored the challenges that that area is facing in real life. I know that working to save the planet environmentally is a global issue, but I learned so much about that region’s specific struggles from working in the area on this project.
You have a fantastic filmography that includes Breaking Bad, Euphoria, The Righteous Gemstones, Maggie, The Goldbergs, Criminal Minds, How To Get Away With Murder, and many others. Which project holds a special place in your heart and was the most significant to you?
MIKE: Oh, man. You know, they’re all important and defining in their own unique ways, but other than, Mosquito Coast, I would have to say Breaking Bad. It’s such an iconic, groundbreaking series. Like so many other actors devouring the series, I had watched every episode admiring the storytelling and thinking how cool it would be to be a part of it – and then I had the great good fortune to indeed join the cast. I could feel on set that everyone was happy to be there. There was an awareness of the important work they were doing. There was a focus to their work – across departments – that was palpable. Inspiring. I had also spent most of my professional life up to that point in the theatre and so being welcomed onto set and allowed to do my thing on their team was very affirming. In some way it was an experience that said, “You’re moving in the right direction. Keep going.”
What type of roles would you love to take on in the future?
MIKE: You know, really anything that is challenging. There’s excitement in the challenge. Roles like this could take so many forms. Also, I love to travel, and I want to show my kiddos as much of the world as possible. So,something on location in a new part of the world that I could share with my family would be amazing.
What are your plans and ambitions for the coming years?
MIKE: I have a feature that I wrote for my wife, who’s also an actor – and quite a wonderful one! And I’m currently pitching an animated series for kids. These two projects are really exciting to me. They provide a lot of fuel for getting out of bed in the morning and diving into the day. They’re also crazy challenging – but again, that’s where the excitement is.
For more about MIKE OSTROSKI visit: MikeOstroski.com
Title image by The Headshot Truck