George Clooney is bringing Joseph Heller's legendary novel Catch-22 back to life with a miniseries for Hulu, and the first photos from the project were released earlier this week.
On Wednesday, Entertainment Weekly and PEOPLE shared photos from the project, which stars Christopher Abbott (Girls, The Sinner) as Captain John Yossarian and Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights, First Man) as Colonel Cathcart. Clooney, who is executive producing the series, was originally supposed to play Cathcart, but chose the smaller role of Scheisskopf. The role requires Clooney to wear a gray mustache — a look that has the Oscar winner standing out in his latest role.
Catch-22 was published in 1961 and is set during a fight against the Germans in the Mediterranean during World War II. Yossarian is the main character, a bombardier who tries to keep his sanity while dealing with the war and the bureaucracy in order to fulfill his requirements.
The central "catch-22" of the story is Yossarian wants to be declared insane so he can get out of flying, but he has to fly in order to be declared insane. And once he applies to be declared crazy, the fact that he applied shows that he is not crazy. So the only real way to get out of flying would be to continue flying and hope the requirements to get out are not suddenly changed.
“It’s not that he’s scared of death, it’s that he’s scared of who decides to bestow death upon him,” Abbott told EW of Yossarian. “He’s fully aware that death is imminent, but he doesn’t want it at the hands of this bureaucratic system.”
“It’s about the madness of war,” executive producer Luke Davies added. “It’s also hilariously about the madness of the bureaucracy of war, which is a different matter. And it’s about the experience of powerlessness that we all have.”
Chandler's character, Cathcart, is a real crazy character, but he is the one leading Yossarian's squadron.
“My initial reaction was, ‘No, I’m not going to remake Catch-22,’” Chandler told EW. “But then I read it, and immediately I was intrigued. The role is not really quite like anything I’ve done before. [Cathcart’s] insane.”
Oddly enough, although the book is considered one of the most important American novels of the 20th Century, it has only been successfully adapted by Hollywood once. In 1970, Mike Nichols adapted the book with a script by Buck Henry. In the film, Alan Arkin played Yossarian and Martin Balsam played Cathcart.
The new miniseries was written by Davies and David Michod (Animal Kingdom, The Rover) and directed by Clooney, Grant Heslov and Ellen Juras. The rest of the cast includes Hugh Laurie, A Star Is Born's Rafi Gavron and Preacher's Julie Ann Emery.0comments
Catch-22 is expected to be released on Hulu in Spring 2019.
Photo credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images