Jason Isaacs to star as Carey Grant in ITVX drama 'Archie'
Jason Isaacs is set to star as screen legend Carey Grant in ITVX drama Archie, which will explore the entertainer's true identity and troubled childhood.
Screenwriter Jeff Pope, known for Philomena, Stan & Ollie and Mrs Biggs, has created the four-part series with the blessing of Grant's ex-wife Dyan Cannon and daughter Jennifer Grant.
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It will tell how Archibald Alexander Leach, born in Bristol in 1904, escaped a childhood marred by his brother's death, father's adultery and mother's grief and depression to become Hollywood's greatest leading man.
Isaacs (The Patriot, Black Hawk Down, The OA) 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."
The drama follows his first steps into Hollywood as a teen, how he carved out his legendary career, and the desperate unhappiness in his personal life before meeting Cannon.
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Screenwriter Pope said: “As with many of my projects, I started at the end and worked backwards. I discovered that, at the height of his fame, Cary Grant retired to look after his young daughter. Intrigued, I started to dig into why he had become a single father. What had happened?
"My journey led me to Bristol, and a young boy called Archie Leach. Cary Grant became one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century, beloved by presidents and paupers. The key to everything lay in his childhood.”
Grant's ex Cannon said: “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!”
The star's daughter Jennifer was also closely involved with the project and said: “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.”
Archie will premiere on ITV's new, soon-to-launch streaming service ITVX later this year, and will air on ITV months afterwards.
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