George Clooney to Lead 'Catch-22' Series for Hulu

Actor lands first series regular small screen role since 'ER' for six-part adaptation of Joseph Heller's World War II novel

George Clooney will direct and star in a six-part limited series based on Joseph Heller's landmark novel 'Catch-22' for Hulu. Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty

George Clooney will direct and star in a six-part limited series based on Joseph Heller's landmark novel Catch-22 for Hulu, the streaming service announced Sunday.

Clooney, who will play the role of Colonel Cathcart for the adaptation, will also executive produce the series about the book that gave birth to the paradoxical "Catch-22."

"Catch-22 is the story of the incomparable, artful dodger, Yossarian, 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," Hulu wrote of the series, which will stay tethered to the WW2 setting.

"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."

Director Mike Nichols previously adapted Heller's novel for a 1970 film that starred Alan Arkin, Charles Grodin, Art Garfunkel and, in the Cathcart role, Martin Balsam, as well as cameos by Orson Welles, Martin Sheen and Jon Voight.

Catch-22 also marks Clooney's first series regular small-screen role since his ER tenure ended in 1999, Deadline reports.

"Catch-22 is a rare story that has withstood the test of time, not only as a literary masterpiece, but as a story that still resonates in today’s political and social conversation," Hulu chief content officer Joel Stillerman said in a statement. "These are exactly the types of stories we want to be programming at Hulu, and we couldn’t be happier to partner with George Clooney, Paramount TV and this phenomenal group of creatives to bring one of the most well-known books of all time to viewers in a way that has never been seen before."