Ellen Kuras, an award-winning director and cinematographer, is set to direct two episodes of the six-part Hulu series Catch-22, from Paramount Television, Anonymous Content and George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smoke House Pictures. Kuras joins Clooney and Heslov, with the trio set to direct all six episodes of the limited series.
Additionally, Kuras will serve as a producer on the series, which recently tapped Christopher Abbott to star in the leading role of Yossarian, joining Clooney, who is set to play Colonel Cathcart.
“Ellen is talented and smart and has a great sense of humor. Grant and I feel incredibly lucky to be working with her,” said Clooney.
Kuras is one of the original female cinematographers in the American Society of Cinematographers known for her work on Eternal Sunshine Of the Spotless Mind and Blow, and has collaborated with directors such as Michael Gondry, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Sam Mendes, Jim Jarmusch, Errol Morris and Rebecca Miller. She is an unprecedented three-time winner of the Best Dramatic Cinematography Award at the Sundance Film Festival for Swoon, Angela and Personal Velocity and is the first cinematographer to receive a Gotham Award for her entire body of work.
Kuras made her feature directorial debut with the documentary The Betrayal – Nerakhoon, which earned an Oscar and Indie Spirit nominations and won an Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking .
“Ellen is a pioneer in filmmaking. She has established a career that brings poignant stories to the screen seen through her unique lens and we are excited to have her direct two episodes of Catch-22,” said Amy Powell, President of Paramount Television and Steve Golin, founder and CEO of Anonymous Content.
Based on Joseph Heller’s seminal novel of the same name, Catch-22 is the story of the incomparable, artful dodger, Yossarian (Abbott), 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. 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.
“I’m very excited to be collaborating with such amazingly talented and creative people to translate this bold story to a modern audience,” said Kuras. “Catch-22’is timeless. It’s relevant. And importantly, it explores some of the current and political themes in our world today.”
Catch-22 is executive produced by Clooney and Grant Heslov via Smokehouse Pictures, along with Richard Brown and Steve Golin via Anonymous Content. Luke Davies and David Michôd are co-writers and executive producers for the series.
Kuras, who has directed episodes of Ozark, Legion and The Son, is repped at UTA.