george clooney

George Clooney hired female Catch-22 director in response to #MeToo

10 Jun 2019

That sounds like a great idea

George Clooney hired a female director to help make his Hulu series Catch-22 more relevant in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

The Ocean's Eleven star and his producing partner Grant Heslov have adapted Joseph Heller's iconic satirical war novel into a six-part series for the streaming service.

However, Clooney felt Heller's book, which features few female perspectives and misogynist language, would go down badly after #MeToo activists had highlighted the consequences of sexism, and decided to bring in cinematographer Ellen Kuras to direct two episodes and produce.

"I was going to direct four episodes and Grant two," Clooney tells British newspaper The Times, "but all the Me Too stuff started coming through and I said, 'It's all guys (on this) - we have to be part of the solution.' "

Luke Davies, who has co-written the show with fellow Australian David Michod, says they also considered colourblind casting to make the series more inclusive, but felt it would be untrue to its setting in the Second World War.

"We're doing an authentic adaptation and we will cop flak, so we tried our best to alleviate that by embracing a female perspective in some of this storytelling," he explains."We also asked questions about colour-blind casting, but that would have been intrinsically untrue to the segregationist nature of troop make-up in the war."

Although Catch-22 is one of the most famous comic novels of all time, it has rarely been adapted for film or television, with the only two attempts to date a 1970 film starring Alan Arkin as the lead, Captain Yossarian, and an ill-fated 1973 TV pilot.

Clooney, who also plays Lieutenant Scheisskopf in the series, was scared of taking on the project but decided he could finally do the novel justice.

"It's a classic that we thought would be terrifying to take on, and those are the kind of things you take on," he adds.