What Made George Clooney Return to TV in 2019?

These days, if you’re looking to see the latest performance by megastar George Clooney, you just wait for a Nespresso commercial to come onto your TV. While that might sound like a joke, those ads are the only new material from Clooney we’ve seen since 2017.

That’s not to say he hasn’t been busy. After all, he got a paycheck in excess of $230 million in 2017 following the sale of his tequila company, Casamigos. Meanwhile, he’s been producing a YouTube Premium series starring Kirsten Dunst.

But you’d be right to wonder one thing: What about his acting career? Late in 2017, he addressed that question. “It’s not all that often you get Michael Clayton kind of scripts,” Clooney said. “And if you’re not going to get those, there’s no real point [taking on roles] at this point in my career.”

That’s going to change in 2019. While Clooney has a smaller role than planned in Catch-22, his new Hulu limited series, the star finally found his next Michael Clayton.

Clooney got the right script of Joseph Heller’s classic novel.

Kyle Chandler, Christopher Abbott and George Clooney attend the premiere of Hulu’s “Catch-22” on May 07, 2019 in Hollywood. | Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Hulu

Of all the projects someone might take, you might find it curious Clooney chose a classic book like Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. Before the May 17 premiere of the series on Hulu, Clooney acknowledged how hard it is to tackle such a project.

“You don’t want to take on famous novels because you can just get slaughtered for it,” he told Variety. To complicate things, Heller had a very 1961 approach to prostitution (and women in general) that Clooney found “terrible.”

However, the script he read by Luke Davies and David Michôd convinced him it was time to get back to work. He signed on as an executive producer and eventually decided to direct two episodes. And he even took the part of Colonel Cathcart, a prominent figure in the story.

That turned out to be more than anyone could handle this side of Better Things. Clooney ended up staying in the series but in a lesser role (Lieutenant Scheisskopf). But fans will still see him back on the screen — and watch him play one of the book’s more entertaining characters.

Clooney appears in 3 episodes of ‘Catch-22’ as Scheisskopf.

Clooney in the role of Scheisskopf in ‘Catch-22’ | Philipe Antonello/Hulu

If you’re going to re-introduce yourself to fans, why not play the maniacal World War II commander who’s obsessed with boot-camp parades? That’s the essence of Scheisskopf, a man whose wife sleeps with several on the base where they’re stationed.

Clooney appears as Scheisskopf in three episodes over the course of the show’s six hour-long installments. All episodes will go live on Hulu following the May 17 release, and Clooney suggested taking in more than one at a time to get started with the show.

Christopher Abbot, who played a recurring role on Girls, has the meatiest part (Yossarian). Kyle Chandler, known best for his work on Friday Night Lights, tackled the role of Cathcart.

Considering he waited several years — after reading dozens of scripts — we’re going to take Clooney’s word that Catch-22 is worth watching. It’s hard to imagine many of the actor’s fans doing otherwise.

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