Jason Isaacs reveals ‘nightmare’ reason he almost turned down Cary Grant role in Archie

Virgin Radio

16 Nov 2023, 15:53

Jason Isaacs, Jason as Cary Grant

Credit: Getty / Rex

Actor Jason Isaacs has revealed the “terrifying” part of portraying legendary actor Cary Grant that almost left him not wanting the role. 

The Harry Potter star will play the icon of the Golden Age of Hollywood in ITV’s Archie - a gripping new four-part drama about the life of one of the greatest leading men ever. 

The series covers how Cary, whose real name was Archie Leach, escapes his troubled childhood in Bristol and heads to Hollywood to become the Oscar-winning actor, and while he finds success, does he find happiness. 

Cary was famous for his transatlantic accent throughout his career, fostering an image of a debonair gentleman both on and off the screen. 

Speaking to virginradio.co.uk and other press, Jason admitted trying to get that unmistakable accent down was a “nightmare” and was almost too big a challenge.

He explained: “I didn't want to take the job, partly because everybody thinks they can do an impression of him."

Admitting he was “terrified” of doing it, Jason shared how he took the time to “break down all the movies phonetically” as his accent changed from film to film, but there was one secret, never-before-heard tape that changed everything for him. 

The big screen star continued: “I found a tape that was never meant to be made because he didn't give recorded interviews, he didn’t like it. He gave a recorded interview in the last year of his life. 

“All of his deliveries in films are very, very similar, it’s why he was such great prey and raw material for mimics, but I heard a real conversation that someone had recorded against his will by accident and never played to anyone out of respect, honour and duty because they promised they wouldn't. 

He added: “They played it to me and that's what I had in my headphones all the time. That was easier to do, because it was a real person talking.”

Archie, written by The Lost King’s Jeff Pope, also stars Laura Aikman as Cary’s ex-wife Dyan Cannon, with Succession’s Harriet Walter as Elsie Leach, Cary’s mother. 

Dainton Anderson, Calam Lynch and Oaklee Pendergast play young versions of Archie Leach with Mr Selfridge star Kara Tointon portraying a young Elsie. 

Tune into Virgin Radio UK to hear Jason discuss Archie on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch on Thursday 23rd November.

The full series of Archie will land on ITVX on Thursday 23rd November.