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First announced in November, Clooney will star in the six-episode straight-to-series order based on a script by Luke Davies (Lion) and David Michôd (who directed Clooney in War Machine for Netflix). Clooney will also be co-directing with long-time creative partner Grant Heslov.
This will be Clooney’s first major foray back into television since leaving the NBC drama ER when that series ended in 2009.
Catch-22 is set in Italy during World War II, a time period that Clooney has explored before in his film Monuments Men and in Steven Soderbergh’s The Good German.
Clooney will play Colonel Cathcart in the story of Capt. John Yossarian, a U.S. Air Force bombardier who keeps being sent on dangerous missions to complete his service. Yossarian keeps trying to get out of these missions by acting insane so he’ll be declared in violation of Catch-22 and forbidden to fly.
The late Mike Nichols directed the 1970 adaptation of the book written by Buck Henry, which starred a young Alan Arkin (who starred in the Clooney-produced Argo) and an ensemble that includes Martin Balsam (who played Clooney’s character), Richard Benjamin, Art Garfunkel, Bob Newhart, Anthony Perkins, Martin Sheen and Henry.
Repped by CAA, Clooney and Heslov will executive produce the series through their Smokehouse Pictures along with Davies, Michôd and Anonymous Content’s Richard Brown and Steve Golin with filming planned to begin very soon this year.
The project began with Brown, who EPs True Detective, sitting down with the two UTA-repped writers to discuss possible projects, and they all agreed that doing an expanded version of Heller’s novel than the Nichols’ film would be a worthwhile endeavor.
Paramount Television, who already had a deal with Anonymous Content, still owned the rights to Heller’s book, so the two Australian filmmakers developed the first script with Brown. Michôd originally wanted to direct, as well, but he ended up moving onto The King, a project developed with Joel Edgerton, who co-wrote Animal Kingdom. The producers then went to Clooney, a fan of the book, who brought on Heslov to co-produce and co-direct.
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor