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George Clooney, in London for the Wednesday night U.K. premiere of Hulu/Channel 4’s Catch-22, shared his thoughts on the ever-changing media and streaming landscape, including Walt Disney Co.’s deal this week to take full control of Hulu.
“Well, it’s going to be pretty wild,” Clooney told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet for the premiere, speaking about the Disney deal with Comcast/NBCUniversal for the streaming service following Disney’s Fox deal. “I mean, it’s going to be the biggest company in the world! So we’ll see, it should be fun. I like [Disney chairman and CEO] Bob Iger. He’s a good friend, so I’m sure it’ll be fine.”
The deal is furthering Disney’s position in the streaming space ahead of the launch of its own Disney+ service this year.
While having a great experience with Hulu on Catch-22, Clooney told THR he doesn’t plan to focus on working for one streaming service exclusively right now. “There’s an awful lot of interesting work,” he said. “We have a deal at MGM, so we are still working within the studio system. But you know there’s an awful lot of good stories to be made [for] streamers right now, which is nice because I made a lot of movies like Good Night and Good Luck, and films like that, that were very small, and they wouldn’t make it at a studio anymore, so it’s really good for us, it’s a great place to be.”
He added that the streaming space also allows creatives and viewers to explore a range of narratives. “A lot of the type of stories I like to tell don’t involve superheroes, so it’s not such a bad thing to tell these stories on streaming services.”
Clooney is executive producer on Catch-22, the series adaptation of Joseph Heller’s classic 1961 novel, and also directed two of the six episodes as well as acting alongside Christopher Abbott, Kyle Chandler, Tessa Ferrer and Hugh Laurie, who were all at the launch event at London’s Vue Westfield cinema.
The star highlighted the timeliness of adapting the World War II satire now, noting how he thinks that “this is an absurd time in our history, sort of politically in a lot of different countries, and I think there’s a lot of absurdist humor in this.” He continued: “Films don’t normally lead stories, they kind of reflect where we were, so maybe in 10 or 15 years we’ll look around and think all of this absurdity is a little timeless unfortunately.”
Grant Heslov, Clooney’s business partner at Smoke House Pictures, also features in Catch-22 and directed two episodes, the remaining two being helmed by Ellen Kuras. Heslov, who was celebrating his birthday at the show’s U.K. launch and afterparty at White City House, also chimed in on the Disney deal for Hulu and his experience working on the show for the streamer. “They recognize that Hulu is about taking these really great pieces of IP and making shows, and they seem to embrace it, so for us it’s been nothing but great,” Heslov said.
Clooney also told THR that he, like other consumers, appreciates the accessibility of streamers. “It’s really fun,” he said. “You can get on a plane and rock and roll through it. You can watch six episodes straight!”
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