Why Cary Grant DITCHED his West Country accent for mid-Atlantic drawl
Why Cary Grant DITCHED his West Country accent for his mid-Atlantic drawl: Bristol-born Hollywood legend’s real voice will be depicted in new ITV drama after secret tape recording was unearthed
- Biopic stars Jason Isaacs and features a tape of Cary Grant hidden for 40 years
Cary Grant’s mid-Atlantic accent has remained one of his defining features.
But now the Bristol-born Hollywood legend’s real voice will be depicted in a new ITV drama – after a secret tape recording of the star was unearthed after nearly 40 years of it being made.
The film – called Archie and inspired by Grant’s birth name Archie Leach – stars English actor Jason Isaacs, 60, as the protagonist.
Isaacs searched for interviews with Grant but was unable to find anything – until he tracked down a tape of an interview from 1986 that the actor gave just months before his death.
Cary Grant’s real voice will be depicted in a new ITV drama – after a secret tape recording of the star was unearthed after nearly 40 years
The biopic, based on Grant’s life, stars English actor Jason Isaacs, 60. Pictured: Jason Isaacs as Cary Grant
Other Brits who faked sounding American
The English actor and singer auditioned to The Wire with an American accent, until a producer asked about his childhood and the truth came out.
Millie Bobby Brown
The British star of Stranger Things spoke and dressed like an American as a teenager on the audition circuit.
The British Twilight star was told by casting directors that his British accent was a concern, so he changed it and would ‘always come in as a different person’.
Grant had a refined British accent despite being born into a working class Bristolian family.
The interview was with then-film student Kent Schuelke, with Grant only agreeing to do it if his voice was not recorded.
The University of Iowa was making a film tribute in his honour and Grant agreed to contribute.
Isaacs said: ‘The first thing I did was look for interviews, and good luck finding an interview with him anywhere. He didn’t want to be seen, he didn’t want to be known.
‘There was nothing at all, only the films, and that’s not what he spoke like. Having broken it down with a dialect coach, his accent changed a lot in the films.
‘Then I found, through a lot of detective work, someone who recorded an interview with him in the year that he died. It was a young kid, a student who recorded it, and the first thing Cary said when he came on was, ”You’re not recording this, are you? Don’t. I don’t want you to.” ‘
The interview had in fact been recorded after Mr Schuelke’s friend, who accompanied him, taped the footage without permission.
Isaacs said he approached Mr Schuelke to check whether the the interview had been recorded, saying: ‘He hadn’t played it to anyone in nearly 40 years out of respect and a sense of responsibility, and after much begging he played it to me and I heard the man.
Cary Grant’s mid-Atlantic accent was always one of his defining features
The biopic is about Grant’s discovery that the mother he thought was dead for two decades was actually alive and had been put in a mental institution
‘I heard many of his insecurities. I felt like I’d finally made a real connection with him, and that’s the voice you hear on screen [in Archie]. It’s more English than he is in the movies.’
The biopic is about Grant’s discovery that the mother he thought was dead for two decades was actually alive and had been put in a mental institution.
Grant, who died of a stroke in 1986, was 31 when his father told him that his mother Elise was in fact alive.
Screenwriter Mr Schuelke told The Telegraph: ‘I sold the interview to Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine, where it appeared in the January 1987 issue. A recording of Cary Grant talking about his life and career is a rare item.’
Grant moved to the US where he established his acting career, where he would become known for his famous mid-Atlantic accent.
Isaacs said: ‘Cary Grant didn’t exist. Cary Grant was someone a man invented because he was so tortured and he needed the love of as many people as he could get, possibly the whole world, to fill a hole inside him.’
Grant has been supported by his fourth wife Dyan Cannon, 57, and their daughter Jennifer Grant, who said: ‘Dad spoke so little about his life, about his boyhood. Sadly I think there was so much shame wrapped up in it.’
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