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.”


El Salvador court frees woman jailed for delivering stillborn

Evelyn Hernandez (C) is surrounded by activists after being released from the women's Readaptation Center, in Ilopango, El Salvador, on February 9, 2019, where she was serving a 30-year-sentence for aggravated homicide after her baby died at birth. (AFP)
Updated 25 min 35 sec ago
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El Salvador court frees woman jailed for delivering stillborn

  • Even women who abort due to birth defects or health complications risk jail sentences of up to 40 years in El Salvador

SAN SALVADOR: A Salvadoran court on Friday freed Evelyn Hernandez, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison after she gave birth to a stillborn baby at home.
After serving 33 months for aggravated homicide, 20-year-old Hernandez smiled as she was reunited with her parents and a brother in the capital San Salvador.
The court in Cojutepeque, east of the capital, ruled that she will be retried but while living at home. A hearing has been set for April 4, with a new judge, her lawyer Angelica Rivas said.
El Salvador has an extremely strict abortion ban. Hernandez gave birth in the makeshift bathroom of her home in the central Cuscatlan region. She was 18 years old and eight months pregnant.
She said her son was stillborn but was convicted of murdering him, abortion rights group ACDATEE said.
ACDATEE cited a pathologist’s report which it said indicated the baby had choked to death while still in the womb.
Prosecutors argued Hernandez was culpable for not having sought prenatal care, ACDATEE said.
The group said Hernandez had not known she was pregnant and gave birth on the toilet after feeling abdominal pains. She got pregnant as the result of a rape, which she did not report out of fear because her family had been threatened.
Even women who abort due to birth defects or health complications risk jail sentences of up to 40 years in El Salvador. Campaigners say some have been jailed after suffering miscarriages.
The country’s abortion law made international headlines in 2013 when a sick woman was forbidden from aborting a fetus which developed without a brain.
Under a ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Salvadoran state eventually authorized her to undergo a cesarean section. The baby died shortly after the procedure.