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This December, the life of legendary Hollywood leading man, Cary Grant, will have its own miniseries on BritBox.
Archie, the upcoming drama from BAFTA-winner Jeff Pope (Philomena, Stan & Ollie), is titled after the actor’s given name, Archibald Alexander Leach, and will follow Grant’s life and rise to prominence.
Actor Jason Isaacs, best known for playing Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, will portray Grant in the four-part biographical drama. On Twitter, he wrote there was and only ever will be one Cary Grant.
“I can’t wait to play Archie Leach, though, who struggled to play Cary Grant himself. A fascinating, complicated, haunted man who was much, much more beautiful than me,” Isaacs said.
The series will also star Laura Aikman (Gavin & Stacey) as Cary’s ex-wife, actress Dyan Cannon, and Harriet Walter (Succession) as Cary’s mother, Elsie Leach.
In addition to depicting his rise to fame, Archie will tell the story of Grant’s troubled early years and how his family dynamics shaped his life.
The story will begin with his birth in Bristol and illustrate his childhood spent in extreme poverty. It will also highlight his father’s adultery, his brother’s devastating death and Grant’s time in Los Angeles in the 1960s as he struggles with happiness despite attaining international fame.
Despite his death more than 30 years ago, Grant is still easily recognized as one of Hollywood’s most iconic actors, known for his good looks, suave style and transatlantic accent.
In his teen years, Grant entered show business as a juggler with the Bob Pender Troupe of comedians and acrobats. In 1932, he was given a contract with Paramount Pictures. Studio executives thought his given name Archie Leach was unfitting for a leading man and renamed him Cary Grant, which he legally adopted in 1941, according to Britannica.
After starring in several low-budget features and short films, Grant’s role in Blonde Venus garnered him more attention. He became a star after his roles in She Done Him Wrong and I’m No Angel.
In 1935 when Grant’s contract expired with Paramount, he became one of the first actors to leave the studio system. This departure allowed him to negotiate deals where he would earn a percentage of the box office, making Grant one of the wealthiest actors in the industry.
Despite being nominated twice, Grant never won an Academy Award. He did however, receive an honorary Oscar in 1970 presented by his friend Frank Sinatra, who spoke highly of Grant.
“No one has brought more pleasure to more people for so many years than Cary has, and nobody has done so many things so well,” Sinatra once said.
Ian Flemming, a writer best known for his James Bond series of spy novels, modeled the Bond character after Grant. However, when asked to star as Bond, Grant turned down the role because he didn’t want to commit to multiple titles.
Norman Maine in George Cukor’s A Star Is Born is another famous role Gant turned down. Still, Cukor praised Grant.
“You see, he didn’t depend on his looks. He wasn’t a narcissist, he acted as though he were just an ordinary young man,” Cukor said.
Despite his success, Grant once mentioned that he sometimes didn’t feel like he was actually Cary Grant.
“I guess to a certain extent I did eventually become the characters I was playing. I played at being someone I wanted to be until I became that person, or he became me,” Grant said. “Everyone wants to be Cary Grant—even I want to be Cary Grant.”
After starring in more than 70 films throughout his career, including “Houseboat” with Sophia Loren which was filmed in D.C., Grant retired from acting in 1966 after his daughter was born. He died of a stroke at the age of 82.
Both his daughter and former wife gave Archie their blessings, according to Deadline. The show will be available in December in the U.S.