Uber-versatile character actor Jason Isaacs will play the role of Hollywood icon Cary Grant in Archie, a four-part biopic that will premiere on ITV later this year. The series is being written by Jeff Pope (of Philomena) and directed by Paul Andrews Williams (A Confession).
The 59-year-old Isaacs has gained much acclaim for a variety of memorable roles over the past twenty years, including Captain Hook in Peter Pan, Lucius Malloy in the Harry Potter series, and Marshall Zhukov in The Death of Stalin.
Titled Archie as a nod to Grant’s birth name, Archibald Alexander Leach, the biopic is being produced by ITV Studios and BritBox International, with a team led by Rebecca Hodgson. Executive producers will be Jennifer Grant and Dyan Cannon, who are Cary Grant’s daughter and ex-wife.
Born in England, the ever-debonair Cary Grant was one of Hollywood’s most recognizable leading men of the mid-20th century, having appeared in such classics as The Philadelphia Story, Bringing Up Baby, Arsenic and Old Lace, and North by Northwest. He co-starred opposite many of the storied female actors of the era, including Sophia Loren, Eva Marie Saint, Ingrid Bergman, Joan Fontaine, Audrey Hepburn, and Doris Day. Grant received two Oscar nominations for Best Actor, for Penny Serenade (1941) and None but the Lonely Heart (1944).
In a statement he issued about his forthcoming role, 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.”
Screenplay scribe Jeff Pope indicated that he would focus on Grant’s troubled childhood as backdrop to his script: “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 twentieth century, beloved by presidents and paupers. The key to everything, lay in his childhood.”