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[size=39]George Clooney brings Catch-22 into the 21st century with improved roles for women[/size]
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]George Clooney with his wife Amal Clooney CREDIT: JORDAN STRAUSS/ INVISION
- Biba Kang
24 APRIL 2019 • 10:24AM
George Clooney is hauling Catch-22 into the post-MeToo world. The actor and filmmaker has resolved to give greater prominence to female roles in his television adaptation of Joseph Heller’s anti-war novel.
Speaking to Variety, Clooney said that he thought the classic novel’s depiction of women was “terrible”, with female characters being derogatively referred to as “Nately’s lady of negotiable affection,” and “Nately’s lady of negotiable affection’s kid sister.”
According to reports, Clooney only agreed to join the project because the script altered the original story’s treatment of female characters.
“We tried to be part of the solution as opposed to being part of the problem,” he told the US entertainment magazine. In this production of Catch-22 – a limited series that will air on the US streaming service Hulu and be broadcast on Channel Four in the UK – female characters will be turned into more complex roles.
One such character is Nurse Duckett, who has a relationship with Catch-22’s protagonist and anti-hero: Captain John Yossarian. According to Variety, the role of Duckett will be expanded, and she will be played by Grey’s Anatomy’s Tessa Ferrer.
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Joseph Heller in 1998 CREDIT: SUE OGROCKI/REUTERS
Luke Davies, who co-wrote the series’ script with David Michôd, explained that the decision to revamp and modernise the narrative was a personal choice.
“We made it our mission statement to make the portrayal of women more interesting,” he explained, “and not because we think the world has changed, not because we think that outside forces tell us that we need to do that, but because the portrayal of women in the novel is so goddamn awful that it just gave us the heebie-jeebies.”
As well as trying to engineer gender parity on screen, Clooney and his co-producer Grant Heslov also made sure that women were given important roles behind the camera. Ellen Kuras, a Hollywood cinematographer, directed two of the series’ six episodes.
Catch-22 will premiere on Hulu on May 17.
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