Congrats to all the high schoolers reading Catch-22 next year, because Hulu’s making the assignment much easier with a six-episode limited series adaptation of Joseph Heller’s classic novel, debuting on May 17. The series from Paramount Television and Anonymous Content is penned by Oscar-nominated writer Luke Davies (known for his work on Lion) and David Michôd (The Rover, War Machine), who also serve as executive producers.
For those of you who did not read the satirical novel or even get through the CliffsNotes version, here’s a spiffy summary from Hulu:
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 U.S. 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.
Catch-22 sees Abbott of Girls fame reunite with his First Man co-star Kyle Chandler, who plays Colonel Cathcart. That role was originally meant for George Clooney, who stepped offscreen with good reason: He takes on triple duty here, executive producing, directing two episodes and portraying Scheisskopf. The rest of the bill is rounded out by 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 Bolt (Dunbar), Jay Paulson (Chaplain), Julie Ann Emery (Marion) and Grant Heslov (Doc Daneeka).
Clooney and Grant Heslov (Argo, The Monuments Men) take up executive producer duties on the behalf of Smokehouse Pictures. Richard Brown and Steve Golin executive produce for Anonymous Content. Besides Clooney, Heslov and producer Ellen Kuras each direct two episodes.
Watch the teaser for Catch-22 below, check out our coverage from today’s Television Critics Association press tour here and see first-look images from the limited series here.