Catch-22, the high-profile limited series starring and directed by George Clooney, has landed at Hulu, which is finalizing a deal for a six-episode straight-to-series order. The project, written by Luke Davies and David Michôd based on the seminal Joseph Heller novel, is being directed by Clooney and Grant Heslov and hails from Anonymous Content and Paramount Television. UPDATE: Hulu at TCA on Sunday confirmed the deal as closed.
In his first TV role since the end of ER, Clooney will play Colonel Cathcart in Catch-22, which is set in Italy during World War II. This is the story of the incomparable, artful dodger Yossarian, a bombardier for the U.S. Air Force, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. If Yossarian makes any attempt to avoid the perilous missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule which specified that people who were crazy were not obliged to fly missions, but anyone who applied to stop flying was showing a rational concern for his safety and was, therefore, sane and had to fly. “Catch-22” is in fact the origin story of the geopolitical here-and-now.
Clooney and Heslov executive produce via Smokehouse Pictures alongside Davies and Michôd as well as Anonymous Content’s Richard Brown and Steve Golin. Filming is slated to begin early this year.
Catch-22 originated a couple of years ago when Brown, following the first season of True Detective, which he executive produces, sat down with Lion writer Davies and Animal Kingdom and War Machine writer-director Michôd, who are longtime friends, to discuss properties the Aussie duo would like to tackle in a similar limited series format. Davies brought up Heller’s novel, which the trio agreed would benefit from a longer treatment than the two hours in Mike Nichols’ 1970s feature.
The rights to the book were traced down to Paramount Television, where Anonymous Content has a deal. Davies and Michôd co-wrote the adaptation, which Brown developed at Anonymous. Michôd was originally set to direct until he recently became unavailable as a long-gestation feature project he had with Joel Edgerton, The King, moved forward.
The producers immediately thought of Clooney as director. He, along with his producing partner and frequent collaborator Heslov, quickly came on board as directors and executive producers, with Clooney, a big fan of the book, also expressing interest in co-starring as Colonel Cathcart.
This is the latest series order to come out of Paramount TV and Anonymous Content’s successful partnership, joining Berlin Station on Epix, 13 Reasons Why and Maniac on Netflix, and The Alienist on TNT.
It is the third limited series ordered by Hulu, following the high-profile 11.22.63, produced by J.J. Abrams, and the upcoming The Looming Tower.
Clooney and Heslov are repped by CAA; Michôd and Davies are with UTA.