DEFINITION August 2019


CURSE BROKEN? The novel Catch-22 has long been thought to be cursed when adapting for screen, but the latest version might just be the one to break it


F or the Hulu six-episode miniseries Catch-22 – available on Channel 4 in the UK, directed by Grant Heslov, Ellen Kuras and George Clooney – cinematographer Martin Ruhe relied on two sets of two Arri Alexa Mini cameras, matched with the legendary Cooke Optics S4/i prime lenses to capture this latest version. Based on the acclaimed Joseph Heller novel, Catch-22 is set during the second world war and revolves around a military by-law, which states that if you fly your missions, you’re crazy, and all you have to do is ask not to fly them. But if you ask not to, then you’re sane, and so you have to fly them. The book’s title coined the term that has entered the common lexicon since Heller’s book was first published in 1961. One thing that was made clear was that it would be its own production, and not based on the 1970 film. “We all looked at the original film, and the two projects have a different nature,” says Ruhe. “Ours is a dark comedy with a strong look for a strong visual story, as compared to the original, which was more of a straight comedy. The aerial scenes had to show the intense horror of being up in those small tin boxes. It had to be about life and death.”

RIGHT DOP Martin Ruhe getting a perspective action shot on Catch-22 set

BELOW George Clooney directed two episodes

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