Hulu is doubling down on the dystopian adaptation business. With the streaming service’s The Handmaid’s Tale continuing to rack up award wins, Hulu is adding another adaptation of a literary classic to its library: Joseph Heller’s novel Catch-22, which George Clooney will co-write, direct, produce, and star in.
First published in 1961, Catch-22 recounts the story of a US B-52 bombardier named Capt. John Yossarian, who is caught in a frustrating position. He must fulfill a set number of missions before he can be discharged, but he finds that the number is continually revised, preventing him from escaping. If he tries to get out of his duty, he’ll be caught in a paradoxical, bureaucratic rule known as Catch-22.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the project will be a six-episode miniseries, and will mark the first series regular role for Clooney since his time on ER. Clooney was a fan of the original novel, and after reading a draft of the series written by Lion’s Luke Davies and War Machine’s David Michôd, he came onboard. (Clooney will reportedly be co-writing the final episode with the duo.) Along with directing the show, he’ll also play the role of Colonel Cathcart, the commanding officer who keeps increasing Yossarian’s missions.
Hulu has been on a roll recently: after primarily focusing on comedies, the service finally broke through as a provider of prestige drama when it won five Emmy Awards for The Handmaid’s Tale last year. The broader streaming marketplace, however, is only getting more competitive, with Amazon and Netflix continuing to expand their offerings with increasingly more prestigious talent. With his popularity as an actor and critical acclaim as a filmmaker, Clooney is the kind of collaborator that can help Hulu achieve two goals at the same time. Factor in that Catch-22 is the kind of politically relevant story that Hulu has already had success with, and the new series should help the service continue to build out its catalog.