Hulu’s forthcoming Catch-22 limited series continues to add to its ranks.
Grey’s Anatomy alum Tessa Ferrer and Mad Men’s Jay Paulson have joined the cast of the Kyle Chandler and George Clooney starrer.
Catch-22 is the story of an artful dodger, Yossarian (Christopher Abbott, taking on the role played by Alan Arkin in the 1970 movie), a U.S. 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 that specifies that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that 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.
Ferrer will take on the role of Nurse Duckett (originally played by Paula Prentiss). She is the ward nurse who likes Yossarian but has his measure. She’s half-exasperated by his relentless scheming but half-admires him, too.
Paulson, meanwhile, will play the chaplain (originally portrayed by Anthony Perkins). He is nervous, often ineffectual but gentle and a deep thinker; he avoids conflict at all costs and takes a liking to Yossarian.
In the limited series based on Joseph Heller’s seminal novel, Clooney was poised to star as Col. Cathcart, the part originally played by Martin Balsam in the 1970 feature. That will now be played by Friday Night Lights alum Kyle Chandler. Clooney, who made the decision to take a lesser part in what is his first series-regular role since NBC’s ER, will now portray Scheisskopf. Catch-22 reunites Chandler with Argo producer Clooney.
Hulu landed Catch-22 — with Clooney attached to star — in a competitive situation with multiple outlets bidding. The actor, whose paycheck for each of the six episodes is said to be in the $1 million ballpark, is executive producing the Paramount Television and Anonymous Content drama alongside co-writers Luke Davies (Lion) and David Michod (War Machine). Clooney and his Smokehouse Pictures producing partner Grant Heslov (Good Night and Good Luck, Argo, The Ides of March) will co-direct and exec produce. Anonymous Content’s Richard Brown and Steve Golin also exec produce. Ellen Kuras recently joined the series and will produce and direct two of the six episodes. Hugh Laurie co-stars as Major de Coverley.
Ferrer counts series-regular roles on Audience Network’s Mr. Mercedes and recently had a recurring role on FXX’s You’re the Worst. Her feature credits include Insidious: The Last Key. She is repped by CAA.
Paulson will next be seen in TNT’s limited series One Day She’ll Darken, opposite Chris Pine. His credits include Amazon’s Electric Dreams, Happy Town and October Road. Paulson is repped by Buchwald.