Hulu’s upcoming Catch-22 TV miniseries brings former Friday Night Lights star Kyle Chandler on board in the role George Clooney was originally going to play. While the news may sound as though some behind-the-scenes drama is at play, it’s actually not quite so dramatic. Clooney is simply taking a smaller role in front of the camera in the six-part limited series, presumably to better focus on his duties behind the camera, as both director and producer alongside is frequent partner Grant Heslov.
In an official release from Hulu, it was announced that Chandler will step into the role of Colonel Cathcart, who is described as “a full Colonel that takes himself very seriously.” Meanwhile, Clooney will be take on the supporting role of Scheisskopf, “a training commander at cadet school in California. Ambitious, humorless, inept, angry, sadistic – and above all else, obsessed with parades and winning parade tournaments. At cadet school he makes the men’s lives a living hell. Deep down he’s just an angry idiot, so there’s no real danger he’ll ever be sent overseas. And then: he is sent overseas. As the Head of Operations for the entire Mediterranean Theater.”
Casting on the series has been underway for some time now, with former Girls actor Christopher Abbott in the role of Yossarian “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.” And more recently it was announced that Hugh Laurie will join the series as Major de Coverlely.
The series is an adaptation of Joseph Heller’s 1961 novel of the same name, which was turned into a feature film by Mike Nichols in 1970. That film starred Alan Arkin in the role of Yossarian, and featured an amazing cast that included Bob Newhart, Orson Wells, Anthony Perkins, Jon Voight, and Martin Sheen, among others. Both the book and the film were a pointed satire of war and the bureaucracies surrounding it, and considering the charged political atmosphere of 2018, it seems like as good a time as any to revisit some of those ideas.
In addition to the impressive cast the miniseries has already assembled, as well as the talent behind the camera, Catch-22 is written by Luke Davies (Lion) and Animal Kingdom writer-director David Michôd, who knows a thing or two about military satire after his most recent film, War Machine, was released on Netflix last year. How the miniseries will turn out is anyone’s guess, but with Coach Taylor joining the cast it’s looking like Hulu may have a winner on its hands.
Catch-22 is expected to stream on Hulu in 2018.