Channel 4 to air George Clooney’s Catch-22 TV adaptation in 2019

Hugh Laurie, Kyle Chandler and other actors will join Clooney in the new six-part adaptation of Joseph Heller's classic novel

George Clooney (Getty, EH)

Some exciting new details have emerged about the new TV adaptation of classic satirical novel Catch-22, which follows the increasing absurd and darkly comic actions of US Air Force pilots during the Second World War.

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Channel 4 will air all six episodes of the high-profile production in 2019. George Clooney, the series’ producer and director, will feature in a smallish role as an ambitious but inept training commander, alongside already-announced stars Hugh Laurie, Kyle Chandler and Girls’ Christopher Abbott.

More casting for other roles is forthcoming, and in the meantime a summary of the series can be read below:

“Catch-22” follows the story of Captain John Yossarian (Abbott), a US air force soldier in World War II who can’t understand why thousands of people who have never met him want to kill him. Yossarian is a rebellious and fearful anti-hero, who is trying to survive the war against the odds. Desperate to impress his superiors, Colonel Cathcart (Chandler) keeps raising the numbers of the missions his men have to fly.  

Yossarian is driven half-mad by his will to live. He wants to complete his service and leave, but his efforts are blocked by Catch-22; a ridiculous bureaucratic rule which states that pilots don’t have to fly if they are certified insane, but unfortunately for the men the same rule also states that being driven mad by fear is a rational emotion, which therefore means the individual is sane and able to carry on with the mission.

The darkly humorous, yet tragic and absurdist satire is at once a resolutely anti-establishment tale and a cautionary exploration into the abuse of power and authority. As powerfully resonant today as it was 50 years ago when it was first published, “Catch-22” uses the most absurd and illogical of situations to lay bare some of the most profound human fears.

According to the release, Channel 4 will also be “contributing to select aspects of the development of the project.”

“I’m very excited to be working with Channel 4 to bring the classic Catch-22 to their channel. I couldn’t think of a better place to be doing this,” Clooney said in a statement.

“It’s hard to imagine a work that speaks more directly to the frequently absurd times we live in, and to the growing sense of individual distrust of institutions, than Catch-22,” Ian Katz, Director of Programmes at Channel 4 added.

“David Michôd and Luke Davies have produced a script that crackles with irony, anger and humanity. I’m thrilled that it will be a part of our stellar 2019 drama offer.”

Considering the book’s massive and enduring popularity, this will definitely be one to watch.

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Catch-22 will air on Channel 4 in 2019