The streaming service has landed the rights to the limited series, which Clooney will write, direct, executive-produce and star in as Col. Cathcart, the novel's rank-climbing antagonist. It will mark his return to television, and if it premieres in 2019 (no timetable has yet been set) it will come out 20 years after he left ER.
The limited series is produced by Paramount TV and Anonymous Content, the company behind notable series including True Detective, Mr. Robot and 13 Reasons Why. Luke Davies and David Michod are Clooney's co-writers on the six-episode series.
Catch-22 tells the story of Captain John Yossarian, a bombardier stationed off the coast of Italy during World War II. Yossarian wants to go home, but his incompetent commanding officer Cathcart keeps increasing the number of missions he has to fly before he can be discharged. The only way for a pilot to get out is to prove that he's mentally unfit to fly, but not wanting to continue flying dangerous missions proves a rational mind which means he's capable of flying.
Heller's book — considered one of the greatest American postwar novels — was published in 1961. It was previously adapted into a movie in 1970 by director Mike Nichols and starred Alan Arkin as Yossarian and Martin Balsam as Col. Cathcart. A TV series pilot was made in 1973 starring Richard Dreyfuss as Yossarian but it wasn't picked up.
This will be Hulu's second novel-to-limited-series adaptation after 2016's Stephen King-derived 11.22.63. It will be Clooney's fourth World War II-related project, after the films The Thin Red Line, The Good German and The Monuments Men.