ARCHIE: FULL CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR ITV CARY GRANT DRAMA
ITV has announced further casting for four-part drama Archie, depicting the life of Hollywood’s greatest leading man, Cary Grant and starring Jason Isaacs in the leading role.
Written by award winning screenwriter jeff Pope, the drama will star Laura Aikman as Cary’s ex-wife Dyan Cannon with Harriet Walter as Elise Leach, Cary’s mother.
Dainton Anderson (Patrick Melrose), Calam Lynch (Bridgerton) and Oaklee Prendergast (Home) will play young versions of Archie Leach and Kara Tointon (Mr Selfridge, The Halcyon, Sound of Music Live) will play young Elsie.
The stellar ensemble cast also stars Henry Lloyd-Hughes (Ragdoll), Ian Pulston-Davies (DI Ray, Coronation Street), Ian McNeice (Doc Martin), Jason Watkins (McDonald & Dodds, Des), Lisa Faulkner (EastEnders) and Niamh Cusack (The Virtues).
Archie will premiere on ITVX, the new, free streaming platform available to viewers later this year. The drama will air on ITV months later.
Born in Bristol, England in 1904, to parents Elsie and Elias, 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, clown 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.
With no thoughts of acting, 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 failed marriages behind him, he began to woo a young actress he’d seen on a TV show, Dyan Cannon. Thirty three 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. Dashingly handsome, suave and sophisticated, Cary continued to pursue her, with introductions to his famous friends, until they eventually wed in Las Vegas in 1965.
The drama is being produced with the blessing of Cary Grant’s daughter, Jennifer Grant, and ex-wife Dyan Cannon. Amongst many sources, Jeff has interviewed both women extensively. Dyan and Jennifer are Executive Producers on the drama. Archie has been commissioned for ITV by Head of Drama, Polly Hill. Polly will oversee production of the drama for ITVX.