'Catch-22' Trailer: George Clooney Brings Some Comedy To World War II

George Clooney has dabbled with wartime satire as the producer and star of The Men Who Stare at Goats, but now he's fully leaning into the unexpected comedy that comes from World War II with a series adaptation of Joseph Heller's classic novel Catch-22.

Hulu is behind the Catch-22 series, which follows the adventures and misadventures of a US air squadron in Italy during the historical global war. Christopher Abbott stars in the series as a bombardier who isn't too happy that thousands of people want to kill him even though they don't even know him. But the larger problem is that the Air Force keeps increasing the number of missions men must fly in order to complete their service. And there doesn't seem to be any way out. Watch the Catch-22 trailer below to see the kind of madness he has to deal with.

Catch-22 Trailer

Catch-22, as a novel, famously uses a non-chronological narrative structure to tell the story of this US air squadron. So it'll be interesting to see if the series adaptation takes the same approach.

Furthermore, the novel is also famous for its anachronistic approach to World War II, using 1950s references to make the story more relatable to audiences at the time it was published. Will the series take a similar approach by having proxies in this particular adaptation, perhaps providing a satirical send-up of modern mishaps and events through the lens of the 1940s? Clooney applied a similar tactic with Good Night and Good Luck, a film that chronicled the fear of communism during the rise of television news, but also contained plenty of thematic links to the events that transpired in the years following 9/11.

As for this six episode series adaptation of Catch-22, it looks a little goofier than expected, but not quite as silly as The Men Who Stare at Goats, which missed more than it hit. There's definitely a Coen brothers style to the proceedings, but it remains to be seen if the series can capture that same kind of witty magic.

Joining Christopher Abbott in the series is director and executive producer George Clooney himself as Scheisskopf, Hugh Laurie as Major de Coverly, Kyle Chander as Colonel Catchcart, Jon Rudnitsky as McWatt, and Clooney's producing partner and fellow director Grant Heslov.

Based on Joseph Heller's seminal novel of the same name, Catch-22 is the story of the incomparable, artful dodger, Yossarian (Christopher Abbott), 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. 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.

Catch-22 premieres on Hulu on May 17, 2019.