A new drama on actor Cary Grant’s life starring Jason Isaacs has been commissioned by ITVX. Titled Archie after Grant’s birth name (Archie Leach), the four-parter will see Isaacs step into the shoes of Hollywood’s legendary leading man.
ITV’s upcoming streaming platform already has an impressive content slate in the works ahead of its launch in autumn, including Nolly, created by Russell T Davies and starring Helena Bonham Carter, and the David Tennant-led Litvinenko.
Archie will be written by Philomena screenwriter Jeff Pope, and has the blessing of Grant’s daughter Jennifer and ex-wife Dyan Cannon, both of whom have executive producer credits.
Speaking of playing Grant, Jason Isaacs said: “There was only one Cary Grant and I’d never be foolish enough to try to step into his iconic shoes. Archie Leach, on the other hand, couldn’t be further from the character he invented to save himself.
“Jeff’s brilliant scripts bring to life his relentless struggle to escape the demons that plagued him, his obsessive need for control, his fears, his weaknesses, his loves and his losses. It’s the story of a man, not a legend, and those are shoes I can’t wait to walk in.”
Isaacs’s career spans film and TV, with roles in The Patriot, the Harry Potter franchise as Lucius Malfoy, Peter Pan, The Death of Stalin and many more. In TV, he most recently appeared in BBC anthology series Inside No 9, The Great and Sex Education.
Grant’s ex-wife Dyan Cannon also commented on the series, saying: “Cary Grant touched the world with his charm, his grace and enduring vivacity, but few knew Archie Leach, the man I was fortunate to know intimately and marry. I’m so grateful Jeff Pope has captured him so brilliantly on the page, and that Jason Isaacs will do the same on screen!”
Grant’s daughter Jennifer added: “My father was an extremely private man, so naturally, when Jeff Pope approached me with the idea to write Dad’s life story, I was trepidatious at best.
“Jeff’s thoughtfully intelligent understanding of Dad’s boyhood won me over. My father’s formative years as Archie Leach in Bristol, England, and the extraordinary challenges he faced, lie at the heart of ‘Archie’. Cary Grant is emblematic of charm, wit and grace , but unknown to most are the enormous challenges he overcame to create himself.”
Pope was inspired to look into Grant’s past after discovering he retired to look after his daughter at the height of his fame. “Intrigued, I started to dig into why he had become a single father,” Pope explained.
Filming has yet to commence on the series.
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