A new adaptation of Joseph Heller‘s classic 1961 novel Catch-22 is in the works, with Hugh Laurie set to play an American Air Force major.
Hulu greenlit the six-part series in January, with George Clooney working both behind-the-scenes as executive producer, and in front of the camera, in his first series regular role since he starred in ER all those years ago. He’ll play Colonel Cathcart, an ambitious, unintelligent officer in charge of a squadron stationed on a small island off Italy during World War II.
Now Variety reports he’ll be joined by The Night Manager star Hugh, who’ll play Major de Coverley, the squadron’s fierce executive officer who’s referred to as “Major —– de Coverley” and described as “an ominous, incomprehensible presence” in the book.
In fact the Major sounds like a perfect role for Hugh, as he spends the war pitching horseshoes, listening to jazz on his phonograph, and mixing himself martinis.
Neither character is the lead role, however. That honor falls to John Yossarian — a role played by Alan Arkin in the 1970 film and Richard Dreyfuss in a short-lived 1973 comedy pilot. He’s the Air Force captain whose predicament gave rise to the phrase “catch-22” entering the language: when he feigns madness to avoid dangerous combat missions, he’s told his desire to avoid them is proof of his sanity.
Yossarian will be played by Christopher Abbott in the new series, who’s best known for playing Marnie’s boyfriend Chris in the first two seasons of Girls.
All in all, it’s shaping up to be a screwball comedy with a very dark undertow, just like the original novel. It’s expected to start shooting soon, so a 2019 release on Hulu is likely.
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