George Clooney’s ‘Catch-22’ reflects on ‘insanity’ of war

Grant Heslov, from left, George Clooney, Christopher Abbott, Kyle Chandler, Ellen Kuras and Luke Davies participate in the "Catch-22" panel during the Hulu presentation at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour at The Langham Huntington on Feb. 11, 2019, in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
Updated 12 February 2019
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George Clooney’s ‘Catch-22’ reflects on ‘insanity’ of war

PASADENA, California: George Clooney, who returns to TV for the first time in 20 years with an adaptation of the classic novel “Catch-22,” said on Monday the Hulu series set in World War II aims to tell a timeless story about the “insanity” of war.
At a preview for reporters, Clooney said he initially resisted the idea of taking on Joseph Heller’s 1961 book about member of a US bomber squadron fighting the higher-ups in the military bureaucracy.
“It’s a beloved novel,” Clooney, who also served as executive producer and directed two episodes, said at a Television Critics Association event. “I didn’t want to get into the middle of that.”
He said he was drawn in because the writers “did an amazing job unspooling these characters” for the six-episode series that will be released on Hulu on May 17.
That allows the series to expand on Heller’s story, which Clooney said was meant “to make fun of all the red tape and bureaucracy of war and the ridiculousness of war.”
“I think it still plays,” he added. “All of us spend our days and nights worrying about those situations. This story is just reflecting on the insanity of it.”
“Catch-22” follows a US bombardier named Yossarian who is infuriated that the army keeps raising the number of missions he must fly to be released from duty. Yossarian’s only way to avoid the missions is to declare insanity, but the only way to prove insanity is a willingness to embark on more of the highly dangerous bombing runs, thus creating the novel’s absurd ‘catch-22.’
It was made into a 1970 movie directed by Mike Nichols with Alan Arkin as Yossarian.
“I think we all wake up every morning these days in this kind of shared global anxiety condition, and this novel is a beautiful distillation, or a prophetic distillation of that,” said co-writer Luke Davies.
Christopher Abbott stars as Yossarian and Kyle Chandler plays his commander, Col. Cathcart. Clooney originally planned to play Cathcart but instead took a supporting role as training commander Scheisskopf.
Clooney, 57, last appeared on television 20 years ago as Dr. Doug Ross in hit medical drama “ER.” He then built a successful film career with movies including “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Gravity” and “Up in the Air.”
The actor said he was happy to come back to television.
“I don’t care about the medium,” Clooney said. “I just care about the quality of the work and what we’re able to do.”


Karl Marx memorial vandalized in London for second time

The bronze bust on top of the monument at the tomb of German revolutionary philosopher Karl Marx, a Grade I-listed monument, is seen in Highgate Cemetery in north London on February 5, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 17 February 2019
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Karl Marx memorial vandalized in London for second time

  • German revolutionary philosopher Marx moved to London in 1849 and lived in the city for the rest of his life

LONDON: The memorial of German philosopher Karl Marx has been vandalized in London for the second time in two weeks, the cemetery that manages the site said on Saturday.
The words “architect of genocide,” “terror and oppression” and “mass murder” were written in red paint on the grave in the capital’s Highgate cemetery.
“Doctrine of hate” was also scrawled on the memorial, among other slogans.
The grave of Marx, who developed the theory of international communism, was also attacked on February 4 when it was seemingly struck several times with a blunt metal instrument.
A marble plaque with the names of Marx and his family — the monument’s oldest and most fragile part — was repeatedly hit.
“Vandals back at Marx Memorial, Highgate Cemetery. Red paint this time, plus the marble tablet smashed up,” tweeted Highgate Cemetery on Saturday alongside photos of the memorial covered in red paint.
“Senseless. Stupid. Ignorant. Whatever you think about Marx’s legacy, this is not the way to make the point,” it said.
German revolutionary philosopher Marx moved to London in 1849 and lived in the city for the rest of his life.
His theories became the basis for communism. He died on March 14, 1883, aged 64.
The granite slab monument in north London, 12 feet (3.7 meters) tall and topped with a bronze bust of Marx, was funded in 1956 by the Communist Party of Great Britain.