Thirteen months after the George Clooney-directed adaptation of Catch-22 was first announced, Hulu has shared the first trailer for the six-part limited series based on Joseph Heller’s satirical World War II novel. The minute-long teaser was released as part of Hulu’s Television Critics Association presentation.
Hulu said of the series in a synopsis, “Christopher Abbott is Yossarian, a bombardier, whose frantic obsession every time he goes up on a mission is ‘to come down alive.’ His odds of success at such a simple aim keep getting worse, because Colonel Cathcart (Kyle Chandler) keeps raising the number of missions the men have to fly. More than the retreating Germans, the real enemy for Yossarian and his rag-tag bunch of friends is the bureaucracy of the military, inverting logic at every turn. The pinnacle of this is Catch-22, a military by-law which states that if you fly your missions, you’re crazy, and don’t have to fly them; all you have to do is ask. But if you as not to, then you’re sane, and so you have to fly them.”
In addition to directing the limited series, Clooney also co-stars as “the barking mad, parade-obsessed Scheisskopf”; although the series will arrive on a streaming service, the role is considered Clooney’s first television acting gig since he left ER in 1999.
The first teaser for Catch-22, which premieres May 17th on Hulu, captures the madcap nature of Heller’s novel. “Insanity is contagious,” Abbott’s Yossarian says at one point.
Director Mike Nichols previously adapted Catch-22 in 1970 as a well-regarded film that didn’t quite live up to the humor and scope of the source material. Working with a larger, six-part canvas, Clooney will attempt to translate a novel many believe is un-filmable.
As Yossarian says at trailer’s end, “That’s some catch, that Catch-22.”