We previously reported that George Clooney had signed on to star in a television adaptation of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. At the time of the article, the show had not yet found a network, but it’s been announced that Hulu has picked up the high-profile series.
Clooney is set to star, direct, and produce the limited series, which was written by Luke Davies and David Michôd and co-directed by Grant Heslov.
Catch-22 is set in Italy during World War II. As the book has transcended pop culture and entered the English language as an idiom, you probably know what the book and series is about already. Yossarian, a bombardier in the United States Air Force, struggles with a bureaucratic trap specifying who can and can not perform their duties – crazy people are not allowed to operate the heavy machinery, but anyone who applies to stop flying shows a rational concern for their own safety, and were then deemed sane enough to fly. Clooney will play the part of Colonel Cathcart.
Filming will begin early this year, but no expected air date has been released yet. I, for one, am psyched. If the past year’s literary television adaptations are any hint as to the quality and entertainment value of what we can expect, I’ll be quite happy.
It’s been nearly two decades since iconic Hollywood film actor George Clooney has graced television screens, leaving the small screen behind for cinema, working both in front of and behind the camera.
Now, this Hollywood’s leading man will make a return, reportedly signing on to both star in and direct an adaptation of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.
The six-episode series is slated to begin production in the early months of 2018 in accordance with Paramount TV and Anonymous Content. Though the adaptation hasn’t found a network yet, with Clooney joining production we’re sure it won’t be too long.
Based on Joseph Heller’s 1961 novel, Catch-22 is a story set in Italy during World War II and focuses on the war tale of Captain John Yossarian, a US Air Force bombardier. The story essentially explores the conundrum Yossarian faces, the bureaucratic rule referred to as Catch-22, in which the definition of insanity as opposed to sanity both heed undesirable results leaving the subject in a no win-situation.
Image Via Amazon
In other words, as Yossarian becomes troubled by his war experiences he finds himself both unable to leave and vulnerable if he stays.
Clooney will play the role of Colonel Cathcart, Yossarian’s commander. He’ll transfer his ability to lead through his role as the director of the film, working alongside producer Grant Heslov, and co-writers and executive producers Luke Davies and David Michôd.
Though it’s been a while since Clooney left his last major role on the acclaimed medical series ER to focus on film, he is certainly a Hollywood veteran. Having been nominated for eight Academy awards spanning his work as a writer, director, and actor (he won two), we’re quite certain his return to the TV screen will be a breeze.
Book titles are important: along with the cover, they’re one of the first things we notice when we pick up a novel. We’ve grown so used to some famous book titles that we barely think about them anymore. Of course The Great Gatsby is called The Great Gatsby; why wouldn’t it be?
But the truth is, it almost wasn’t. And F. Scott Fitzgerald isn’t the only literary figure who switched up a famous title at the last minute. Here are 10 incredible examples of famous book titles that were almost completely different.
Which number followed the “Catch-” in Catch-22 was debated by Heller and his publisher for a while. Heller considered 11 and 18 first, but they were discarded to avoid confusion with the film Ocean’s Eleven (the original 1960 version) and Leon Uris’Mila 18, respectively. 22 was eventually picked simply because it was 11 (Heller’s original choice) doubled.
We gave this one away in the introduction, but how crazy is it that Fitzgerald’s greatest work was almost called something else? In fact, Fitzgerald was considering several different titles, including Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires; Gold-Hatted Gatsby; On the Road to West Egg; Trimalchio in West Egg; Under the Red, White, and Blue; and our personal favorite, The High-Bouncing Lover.
Rowling’s debut already had a title in the United Kingdom, of course, where it was known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. But her publisher, convinced that an American audience wouldn’t know what the Philosopher’s Stone was, wanted to change the title to something more accessible. According to Philip W. Errington’sbook on Rowling’s work, the publisher wanted Harry Potter and the School of Magic. That was lame, and Rowling knew it: she insisted on something more specific, and the “Sorcerer’s Stone” was born.
Harper Lee made a lot of changes as she worked on her famous novel (the recently published Go Set a Watchman is essentially a very early permutation of the work.) At some point, her working title was Atticus. It changed to To Kill a Mockingbird as Lee expanded the novel and made it less about Atticus Finch.
John Steinbeck wasn’t originally going to call his brief classic Of Mice and Men. Instead, he was going to go with Something That Happened. Maybe he thought the original title gave away too much of the plot?
Orwell’s original title was The Last Man in Europe, but his publisher thought 1984 was catchier. Orwell was a serial title changer: he also dropped the subtitle from his classic Animal Farm, which was originally going to be Animal Farm: A Fairy Story. He also considered A Satire and A Contemporary Satire as titles for Animal Farm, both of which seem rather obvious.
Jane Austen’s original title for Pride and Prejudice was First Impressions. Not bad, but it doesn’t quite have the melodic ring that the famous chosen title has. Plus, it doesn’t pair nearly as neatly with Sense and Sensibility.
Hemingway’s original title for The Sun Also Rises was Fiesta. That would certainly have given the cover a bit of a different tone! We can see why Fiesta would have been appropriate, but we think everyone’s glad that Hemingway stepped it up a bit in the title department.
Tolstoy’s magnum opus is a powerful volume, but we don’t think it would have been quite as powerful if Tolstoy had gone with the original idea for the title. Tolstoy’s original title translated to “All’s Well That Ends Well,” which doesn’t quite do justice to his epic novel. The chosen title, War and Peace, was a real upgrade.
Have you seen The Guardian’s list of the 100 Best Novels Written in English? Put together by writer Robert McCrum, the list is pretty comprehensive; but, if you ask The Guardian‘s readers–it has its flaws.
The Guardian’s avid readers were quick to critique every aspect of McCrum’s list, including his methodology (McCrum limited himself to one book per author) and the list’s diversity (readers noted a lack of women authors, authors of color, Irish authors, Nigerian authors, Indian authors, and even Canadian authors.) Individual authors omitted include David Foster Wallace and Kurt Vonnegut. The angry readers have a point; looking at the list, it’s hard not to notice the prevalence of white, British, male authors.
This “best novels” list is an easy way to see that The Guardian is still a very *English* newspaper, http://t.co/qI88YfBJmh
The Guardian has taken all of this criticism in stride, and they’ve come up with a pretty charming way to appease their readers: the publication is inviting all of its critics and fans to contribute their own nominations.
You can write up your own nomination on the Guardian’s website. The Guardian is asking for the book title, author, and an explanation as to why it deserves to be included. The publication is also asking for the name of the book you’d boot from the list to make room, so you’ll have to make some tough choices if you want to nominate a novel!
You can play puppeteer with the Guardian’s list here, and you can view the original list of 100 novels here. What will you be adding to the list?