BritBox and ITVX have released first-look images of Jason Isaacs as Cary Grant in Archie, a new four-part drama about the life of the Hollywood leading man.
Written by award-winning screenwriter, Jeff Pope, and produced by Etta Pictures, Pope’s ITV Studios label, BritBox International is the co-production partner on the series which will premiere in December in all its territories: North America, Australia, South Africa and the Nordics.
The series is directed by BAFTA winning Paul Andrew Williams, who also serves as an Executive Producer, and produced by BAFTA winning Rebecca Hodgson.
The images show Isaacs channelling Cary Grant (1904-1986), looking suave and exuding the elegance and style associated with one of the greatest Hollywood icons.
Archie narrates the story of a young Archibald Alexander Leach’s troubled childhood and how extreme poverty, his father’s adultery and the loss of his older brother, John, tore the family apart and sent his loving mother into a downward spiral of grief and depression.
Jeff Pope’s scripts reveal how deceit, cruelty and one, overpowering lie shaped Archie’s life. At 14 he auditioned for the music hall act, the Bob Pender Troupe, a band of acrobats, stilt walkers, clowns and comedians after seeing them perform at the Bristol Hippodrome.
Lean and athletic, he learned the art of stilt walking, and when the troupe went on tour to the US, teenage Archie was intoxicated by the land of opportunity. Believing he had no family to return to in the UK, he decided to stay in the US to try to make his way in showbusiness.
Jason Isaacs as Cary Grant in Archie. Image: BritBox and ITVX.
A chance meeting with the comedian George Burns helped him find his first footing on the acting ladder and a contract with a movie studio who felt he needed to change his name, and Cary Grant was born.
The drama intercuts with scenes from 1961 when at the height of his fame, living in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, the legendary actor was breaking all box office records, but desperately unhappy in his private life. With two marriages behind him, he began to woo an actress he’d seen on a TV show, Dyan Cannon.
Some 33 years his junior, Dyan, didn’t initially fall for his charms turning down his attempts to meet, because she didn’t feel they could ever be a match. Cary continued to pursue her, with introductions to his famous friends, until they eventually wed in Las Vegas in 1965.
The series also stars Laura Aikman (Not Going Out, Gavin and Stacey) as Cary’s formidable ex-wife, actress and filmmaker Dyan Cannon, with Harriet Walter (Succession, Ted Lasso, Killing Eve) as Elsie Leach, Cary’s mother. Dainton Anderson (Patrick Melrose), Calam Lynch (Bridgerton) and Oaklee Pendergast (Home) play young versions of Archie Leach, and Kara Tointon (Mr Selfridge, The Halcyon, Sound of Music Live) plays young Elsie.