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Dame Harriet Walter joins star-studded cast for Cary Grant biopic

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 30/09/2022 Ellie Iorizzo
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences New Members Party 2019 – London © PA Archive Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences New Members Party 2019 – London

Dame Harriet Walter is to play Cary Grant’s mother in a new drama for ITV.

The four-part series, titled Archie, will follow the actor, born Archibald Leach in Bristol in 1904, as he embraces America and transforms into one of film’s most recognisable leading men.

The biopic will see actor Jason Isaacs star as the Hollywood great alongside Killing Eve’s Dame Harriet as his mother, Elise Leach, and Gavin & Stacey’s Laura Aikman as his ex-wife, Dyan Cannon.

Bridgerton’s Calam Lynch will play a younger version of Archie, while Mr Selfridge star Kara Tointon will portray a younger version of Elise.

The ensemble cast also includes Coronation Street’s Ian Puleston-Davies, Ian McNeice from Doc Martin, and Lisa Faulkner from EastEnders.

The drama, which is filming in Manchester, Chester and Liverpool, has been written by Bafta-winning screenwriter Jeff Pope – whose credits include Stan & Ollie and Philomena.

Paul Andrew Williams, who previously worked with Pope on A Confession, is directing the series.

Grant’s daughter, Jennifer, and ex-wife, Cannon, have both given the project their blessing and also serve as executive producers.

Grant faced extreme poverty, his father’s adultery and the loss of his older brother, John, as a child.

After joining a music hall act, the Bob Pender Troupe, as a stilt walker, he toured America, where he decided to pursue a life in showbusiness.

A chance meeting with comedian George Burns helped him get on the acting ladder and land his first contract with a film studio which urged him to adopt a stage name.

The drama will cut to scenes in 1961 when, at the height of his fame and living in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, Grant was breaking box office records but was deeply unhappy in his private life.

– Archie will premiere on new streaming service ITVX, which launches later this year. The drama will air on ITV months later.

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