Hulu has released the first set of images for its adaptation of Joseph Heller‘s excellent satirical novel, Catch-22. The 6-episode limited series will be directed by George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Ellen Kuras (each doing 2 episodes), all of whom are also producing. Luke Davies and David Michôd are co-writers and executive producers.
It’s been a long time since I read Catch-22, which is typically required reading in the high school cannon of literary works, but I absolutely loved it. The sharp, fragmented style creates a dreamy and sometimes nightmarish discombobulation. But mostly it’s just extremely dryly funny, and also coined the well-known phrase of a “catch-22,” which describes a paradoxical situation that cannot be escaped because of contradictory rules. It also may have inspired the series M*A*S*H, which shares a similar style (of note, there was a Catch-22 pilot starring Richard Dreyfuss that was never picked up, as well as a movie made in 1970).
The excellent cast of Hulu’s series includes Christopher Abbott (Yossarian), Kyle Chandler (Colonel Cathcart), Clooney (Scheisskopf), Hugh Laurie (Major de Coverley), Giancarlo Giannini (Marcello), Daniel David Stewart (Milo), Rafi Gavron (Aarfy), Austin Stowell (Nately), Graham Patrick Martin (Orr), Gerran Howell (Kid Sampson), Jon Rudnitsky (McWatt), Kevin J. O’Connor (Korn), Pico Alexander (Clevinger), Tessa Ferrer (Nurse Duckett), Lewis Pullman (Major Major), Josh Bold (Dunbar), Jay Paulson (Chaplain) and Julie Ann Emery (Marion).
Below is the official synopsis, followed by the first images; Catch-22 will premiere in spring 2019:
Based on Joseph Heller’s seminal novel of the same name, Catch-22 is the story of the incomparable, artful dodger, Yossarian (Christopher Abbott), a US Air Force bombardier in World War II who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy, but rather his own army which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to avoid his military assignments, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule which specifies that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers which are real and immediate is the process of a rational mind; a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but a request to be removed from duty is evidence of sanity and therefore makes him ineligible to be relieved from duty.