The addition of the actor to this adaptation of the classic satirical war novel is something to be excited about.
One of the most anticipated series in pre-production has to be the adaptation of Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22“ being spearheaded by George Clooney. Set for release on Hulu, the miniseries will be written by Luke Davies (Lion) and David Michôd (Animal Kingdom), while Clooney, his frequent collaborator Grant Heslov, and Ellen Kuras (best known as the cinematographer for Michael Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Be Kind Rewind) will each direct two of the six episodes. All of the above are also serving in producing roles on the series.
It’s clear that the team behind the camera on this project is packed with talent. But when it comes to a novel as rich with bizarre, beloved characters as “Catch-22” is, the casting announcements are what we’re all really waiting (and worried) for. The first bit of casting news naturally involved Clooney, who is perfectly cast as Colonel Cathcart, the commander of the US Army Air Corps base in Italy where most of the novel’s events take place. A man whose ambition is only equaled by his stupidity, Cathcart is obsessed with being promoted to general and will do whatever it takes to get there, even at the expense of his men.
One such man is the novel’s protagonist, Yossarian, a fighter pilot obsessed with the idea that people are trying to kill him. Intensely paranoid but also downright hilarious, Yossarian is a great role for any young actor looking to prove that he has both comedic and dramatic chops. Christopher Abbott, best known for being that guy Allison Williams’s character dated on Girls, seems like a bit of a strange choice, but seeing as I’m not terribly familiar with his talents as an actor, I’m willing to give him a shot — especially if he is surrounded by a coterie of excellent actors in the novel’s almost innumerable supporting roles.
Fortunately, one such actor has just signed on to play one of the most enigmatic characters in Catch-22. Hugh Laurie has been announced as Major —— de Coverley, a character so intimidating that no one else in the book has the nerve to ask what his first name is. Nor can anyone figure out what his role is on the base either. All he seems to do is play horseshoes, listen to jazz, and rent apartments for the soldiers in each new city taken by the Allies. But he is both feared and revered by his men nonetheless.
Can you think of an actor better suited for such a role than the man who played the infamously antisocial Dr. House? If the character weren’t based on someone from a decades-old novel you would almost swear it had been written just for Laurie. His tall, lanky frame and craggy visage are definitely intimidating enough to bring the feared side of de Coverley to life, while his knack for comedy will bring out all of the absurdities inherent in the character. This is a guy whose only wartime injury involved being hit in the eye with a flower tossed in a victory parade. I can only hope the series includes that moment because Laurie would play it wonderfully.
The news of Laurie joining the Catch-22 series is exciting because he is a talented actor who is perfect for the part and because it means that there are likely further casting announcements currently in the pipeline. After all, if the plan is still to start shooting in early 2018, they better get going on filling the cavalcade of roles as soon as possible. I am waiting in anticipation to see who will be cast as my favorite character from the novel, Milo Minderbinder. A biting satire of capitalism encompassed in one man, Milo is a mess officer who becomes obsessed with trading goods for profit to literally anyone — even the Germans. At one point, he sets out to acquire all of the cotton in Egypt. If I had my way, I’d love to see someone like Dave Franco in the role — though, goodness knows Anton Yelchin would have been absolutely brilliant.
Needless to say, it’s worth keeping an eye on Catch-22 as more news starts rolling in. Hopefully, it won’t take as long as Yossarian’s tour of duty for this adaptation to hit our screens.