George Clooney is set to return to the small screen after nearly 20 years as actor, director, and producer of the limited series Catch-22, according to Deadline. The project drew interest from several different outlets with Hulu emerging as the victor. It could be another critical and commercial success for the streaming content provider, which has staked out a claim in recent years as a major player in the industry.
Based on the 1961 novel by Joseph Heller, the story revolves around a World War II bomber squadron flying missions from an island in the Mediterranean. The term “Catch-22” has entered the lexicon as a euphemism for a no-win situation, and in the book it refers to a military regulation that governs when pilots can end their tour of duty and return home.
The airmen can only go home if they’re insane, but “Catch-22” states that anyone who wants to go home is sane and therefore not eligible. It’s a bleak, satirical story that’s often cited as one of the best anti-war novels ever written.
The series will run six episodes, and there will not be a second season. Clooney, who’s reportedly taking home about $1 million per episode, will executive produce the series for Paramount. Clooney will also direct the series and star as Colonel Cathcart, the bane of protagonist Yossarian’s existence.
When 41-year-old Amy Powell took the reins at Paramount, Catch-22 was one of the first projects she wanted to adapt. Several production companies had expressed interest in the project, but Powell thinks Clooney is the right fit. “He had incredible instincts on the material,” Powell said of Clooney. “He talked about how he wanted to direct, what locations could be used and how he wanted to cast fresh faces to play the show’s young soldiers. It was a love fest.”
The producers plan to make the series as authentic as possible, shooting on location and even using some of the few remaining WWII airplanes.
The book was previously made into a 1970 film starring Alan Arkin and Martin Balsam, and written by Buck Henry. It also featured appearances by Richard Benjamin, Art Garfunkel, Bob Newhart, Martin Sheen, and Orson Welles.
Catch-22 is the latest original series for the upstart streaming service Hulu, joining such critically acclaimed shows as The Handmaid’s Tale and new series like Castle Rock.