A new making-of video for Hulu’s upcoming Catch-22 sees George Clooney explain why a limited series is the best way to adapt Joseph Heller’s satirical anti-war novel. So far, the trailers for the limited series have shown some of the unhinged mindsets of various characters in the story, like Yossarian (Christopher Abbott), or the really unhinged men in power, like Clooney’s General Scheisskopf or Kyle Chandler’s Colonel Cathcart. But the new making-of video gives the actors a chance to discuss the lunacy of their characters in greater detail.
The six-part limited series is shaping up to be one of Hulu’s biggest offerings of 2019, and for good reason. The series is not only co-directed by Clooney, Grant Heslov (who also plays Doc Daneeka), and Ellen Kuras (The Umbrella Academy), but it’s adapted from Heller’s novel by Luke Davies (Beautiful Boy) and David Michôd (Animal Kingdom). It also features a terrific ensemble cast that includes the aforementioned Abbott, as well as Hugh Laurie, Tessa Ferrer (Mr. Mercedes), Giancarlo Giannini (Casino Royal), Julie Ann Emery (Preacher), and more.
The series is offers a satirical look a the bureaucracies and institutions that engage in and profit from war, as well as the kinds of people who are attracted to conflict and the power that it can offer them. Kuras offers one of the more interesting explanations of what Catch-22 is ultimately about, saying, “This story to me is particularly relevant now when we see what’s happening around us and the kind of absurd decisions that are being made, not for the best interest of mankind, but for the best interest of corporations or for themselves.”
The limited series is certainly going to have its work cut out for it, as comparisons to Heller’s novel will no doubt sway some opinions about the adaptation as a whole. On the bright side, the 2019 Catch-22 will also likely be compared to Mike Nichols’s 1970 adaptation, which, as Clooney points out, didn’t have the advantage of time on its side in terms of really digging into the source material.
With six hours at its disposal and plenty of talent in front of and behind the camera, it stands to reason this new version of Catch-22 will be as highly regarded as the book on which it is based. And who knows, maybe Hulu will get to add some awards to its shelf alongside The Handmaid’s Tale in the process.
Catch-22 premieres Friday, May 17 exclusively on Hulu.