Jason Isaacs Channels Cary Grant In Bio-Drama Archie: ‘You Couldn’t Take Your Eyes Off Him’ – Exclusive Image


by Sophie Butcher |
Published on

Jason Isaacs is no stranger to transforming himself on-screen. There’s his straight-talking Soviet Field Marshal Zhukov in The Death Of Stalin, his sinister, kidnap-happy scientist Hap in The OA – and, of course, who could forget the long, platinum locks of his Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies? But Isaacs is undergoing perhaps his biggest physical transformation yet to play Hollywood legend Cary Grant in new series Archie. With the title inspired by Grant’s birth name Archibald Alexander Leach, and written by Philomena scribe Jeff Pope, it’s a biographical drama which will explore the acting icon’s extraordinary life story, from his troubled childhood to the height of his fame.

It’s a huge role to undertake. “I’ve been through quite a journey,” Isaacs exclusively tells Empire of his preparation for the part_,_ in our new Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom issue. “The more films I watched, the more I realised that the reason he became the biggest star in the world was that you couldn’t take your eyes off him.” Aside from reading every Grant biography he could get his hands on, Isaacs also had conversations with Dyan Cannon, Grant’s ex-wife, and his daughter (and executive producer of the show) Jennifer Grant, to get a more personal insight into the mythic actor. “I’ve always found that you never get a fuller picture of someone than by talking to the people who love them, or who had their hearts broken by them.”

There was, as is to be expected, a lot of make-up and prosthetics work that went into turning Isaacs into Grant for the show – it took up to five hours for him to get ready each day of shooting. “I play him in his eighties, so that’s lots of prosthetics. When he’s much younger, there’s lots of architectural things pulling me up with hooks and strings." More than just Grant’s looks, though, Isaacs wanted to embody his powerful presence. “Walking into a room thinking, ‘Everybody wants me,’” says Isaacs, “just makes you strut differently, and look them in the eye differently.”

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Read Empire’s full interview with Jason Isaacs on his new show Archie in the December 2023 issue, on sale Thursday 26 October. Pre-order a copy online here, or become an Empire member to access the digital edition on launch day. Archie is coming to ITV in November.

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