George Clooney Was Unsure About ‘Catch-22’ But Figured ‘Let’s Just Take A Big Swing And Let’s See How Bad We Can Screw It Up’

Joseph Heller’s 1961 novel Catch-22 has been adapted into film before — and failed.

This time it is George Clooney’s turn up to bat as he takes on the role of director, executive producer and actor for the Hulu miniseries.

Clooney tells The Hollywood Reporter that his first response was “no”. “And then we read Luke [Davies] and David [Michôd’s] scripts and they were absolutely fantastic, and we thought, ‘Well, now we have to.'”

Photographed by Austin Hargrave
Photographed by Austin Hargrave

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The “Gravity” actor knew that the series would not be easy to adapt. “The process itself is tricky because you’re always going to be held up against a novel that’s beloved,” he said. “So you’re always going to be playing defence in a way. We thought, ‘Let’s just take a big swing and let’s see how bad we can screw it up.'”

Chris Abbot of “Girls” joins the cast as Yossarian. He recalled how Clooney “broke the ice [at my audition] by greeting me with a leather helmet on.” Adding, “that was strange.”

“I wear it often,” Clooney rebutted. “[It’s from 2008’s] ‘Leatherheads’. It was a big flop, so we always like to remind ourselves when we’ve had big flops. I wear the Batman outfit a lot, too.”

Heller’s novel has been often criticized for its treatment of women but this time around the team have added a “greater sort of three-dimensional depth” to the few female characters.

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Ellen Kuras was brought on as a producer/director “because we wanted to have a point of view not just from a bunch of old guys.”

When asked about if the mini-series would have any Trump references, Clooney responded, “There’s enough absurdity in our lives right now that we didn’t really need to reference it. I think everybody understands that. It’s not just here. You look at what just happened in Brazil, the Philippines, Hungary, Venezuela, go down the list. Authoritarianism, it’s crazy. It’s always sort of hovering —the feeling of, like, ‘Wow, we’re in strange times.'”

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