BritBox’s Archie is a deeply personal project for executive producers Dyan Cannon and Jennifer Grant.
Cannon, 3-time Academy Award nominee, met and married famed actor Cary Grant in the mid-1960s. Theirs was a tumultuous relationship plagued by their age differences, career trajectories, and Grant’s personal demons likely stemming from his troubled childhood. They had one daughter before finalizing their divorce in 1968. Initially reluctant to have children, Grant immediately retired from acting to become a stay-at-home father just as Cannon’s career was skyrocketing.
Now, just over 35 years after Grant’s death, Cannon and daughter Jennifer Grant team with writer/director Jeff Pope to bring Archie to international screens. Starring Jason Isaacs (Mass) as Grant, the film introduces us to Grant near the end of his life as he’s on a national tour branded as “An Evening with Cary Grant.” There, Grant tells stories of his life and takes the audience (both in the theater and at home) on a journey through his life.
Born as Archie Leach in Bristol, England, 1904, Grant’s mother was institutionalized by his father due to overt grief following the death of his older brother. As his father re-married, young Archie was told that his mother died in the institution, something older Cary would not discover was untrue until decades later. The limited series hypothesizes (and rightfully so) that the absence of and later omnipresence of his mother (played in older years by Harriet Walter) plus his interrupted childhood likely caused years of unhappy and unfulfilling relationships. That is, until he was given the opportunity to become a father with Cannon.
Awards Daily sat down with the creative team behind Archie to understand the personal and emotional connects Cannon and Grant had with the project. Cannon and Grant also both discuss how Jeff Pope gained their trust that this story would be fair to all and well told. They also talk about working with Jason Isaacs and actress Laura Aikman (who plays Cannon) to help them find the characters.
Archie is now streaming on BritBox.