George Clooney is returning to TV with a new adaptation of Catch-22, taking on his first small-screen role since playing Dr. Doug Ross on NBC's ER. The award-winning actor/director is primarily known for his work behind the cameras these days, but his latest project will see him take a significant role in a new adaptation of a classic piece of American literature.
Catch-22 will be based on the satirical novel of the same name by author Joseph Heller. Published in 1961, the book is a fictional story following Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army bombardier stationed in Italy during World War II. It's an unconventional take on the madness of war, and examines the extreme and bizarre situations that the conflict puts Yossarian and his colleagues into. The title has become ingrained into popular culture as a way of describing an impossible or no-win situation. In the context of the plot, if a soldier refuses to fly because it's too dangerous then he must be sane, but he'll be in violation of 'Catch-22', a bureaucratic rule which will only excuse certifiably insane pilots from missions. The book was adapted into the cult black comedy of the same name in 1970 by director Mike Nichols, and starred Alan Arkin as Yossarian.
Related: Suburbicon Review
According to The Wrap, this new version is being developed by Paramount Television and Anonymous Content (Mr Robot), and will be a six-episode miniseries adapting the original novel. Clooney will be starring as Colonel Cathcart, a role that was played by Martin Balsam in the film. He will also direct the series along with his Smokehouse Productions partner Grant Heslov, who also worked with him on The Men Who Stare at Goats. The scripts have been written by Luke Davies (Lion) and David Michod (War Machine), who are also acting as executive producers. Further casting choices - including that of Yossarian - have yet to be confirmed.
Interestingly enough, this isn't the first stab at a TV adaptation of the book. A pilot episode for an ongoing Catch-22 series was produced by CBS in 1973. In that version Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws) played the Yossarian role, but it failed to get picked up for a full series. It was mostly likely stymied by the success of the other anti-war comedy M*A*S*H*, which had already started airing in 1972.
The project is said to start shooting early next year. There's no network attached as yet, but with the involvement of Clooney it's very likely that plenty of channels and streaming services will take a keen interest in the property. His most recent directorial movie was Suburbicon, which got mostly mixed reviews from critics. However, Clooney has shown a keen sense of dark humor in many of his roles, and in his first film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. It could be the ideal project for him to return to TV with. We'll keep you updated with any further news on the Catch-22 miniseries.
Source: The Wrap