Archie is a new biopic about the life of Hollywood golden-era icon Cary Grant. The story will begin with Grant’s tragic, impoverished childhood, and show how he became one of the most-popular leading men in film history. Made with the blessing of his only child, Jennifer, she says that viewers will see that her father was eventually able to “let go of what he needed to.”
Archie’ will begin with Cary Grant’s birth in 1904
Grant was born Archibald Alec Leach in Bristol, England, on January 18, 1904, to working-class parents Elias and Elsie Leach. Known as “Archie” at the time, his dad was a tailor’s presser at a clothing factory and his mom was a seamstress. But Grant’s childhood was far from happy.
His family was poor — with his father being an alcoholic and his mother suffering from clinical depression. His older brother John William Elias Leach died at the age of 14 from tuberculous meningitis one day before Archie’s first birthday — leaving a dark cloud over the family home.
According to Closer via Apple News, Elsie abruptly left the home when Grant was just 9-years-old without saying anything to her son. The young Grant was told by family members that she had gone to a seaside resort. But they didn’t explain her absence or tell him when she would return.
His dad eventually told him that his mother had died — then he moved away, married another woman, and started another family. This led to Archie running off when he was a young teen to join the Bob Pender Comedy Troupe as a juggler, and he moved to the United States and became Cary Grant.
Telling the story of Cary Grant’s tragic childhood and his ability to ‘let go of what he needed to’
It wasn’t until he reached the age of 30 that Grant found out the truth about his mother — his father had institutionalized her at the Bristol Lunatic Asylum after she suffered “mania.” And, she’d remained there since she disappeared from Grant’s life when he was a young boy.
Grant was able to get his mother discharged from the facility, and then cared for the rest of her life. However, they were never able to rekindle their close relationship. This trauma from his younger years was something Grant struggled with throughout his life, but he made a strong effort to make peace with his family secrets.
Grant didn’t become a father himself until he was 62 years old, when his fourth wife, Dyan Cannon, gave birth to their daughter Jennifer. He retired from acting to raise her, and began recording his thoughts about his childhood for a memoir that he never finished. However, he gave Jennifer the tape before he died in 1986.
“He never spoke of the endeavor, but he saved the tape for me,” Jennifer said. “He came to terms with who he was and who his parents were. He’d forgiven who he needed to forgive, let go of what he needed to, and accepted himself as he was. Archibald Alexander Leach, Cary Grant, and all.”
‘Archie’ will be a four-part miniseries starring Jason Isaacs
According to Deadline, the cast for Archie is set, with Harry Potter star Jason Isaacs playing the role of Archie-turned-Cary Grant. Written and produced by Jeff Pope, it begins with the actor’s birth in 1904 and shows scenes from his early life, intercut with scenes from 1961 at the height of the actor’s fame.
The series will also star Laura Aikman as Dyan Cannon and Harriet Walter as Elise Leach. Dainton Anderson, Calam Lynch, and Oaklee Prendergast will play young versions of Archie Leach and Kara Tointon will play young Elsie. Both Jennifer Grant and Dyan Cannon have given the project their approval and are serving as executive producers.
Archie will be available in the United Kingdom in late 2022 on the new streaming service ITVX before it is broadcast on ITV. The international broadcast details have not yet been announced.
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