Emmy Award–winning actor Kyle Chandler, 53, plays Colonel Cathcart in the TV adaptation of wartime satire Catch-22 (streaming now on Stan, watch the trailer below).
What appealed to you about Catch-22?
Once I got over the shock that they were going to actually remake Catch-22, I started to read the script and it was a half-hour that I got through everything. It was just so well put together and so interesting. It was quite obvious it was going to be a lot of fun to work on.
Why were you shocked it was being remade?
I’m always surprised at the amount of remakes, the different things they remake. Catch-22, in my mind anyway, is one of those standards that you just don’t rewrite or re-create. Would you redo The Grapes of Wrath? This seems like one of those. The book is just so enormous. There’s so much to get in there. But I think the writers did a tremendous job in distilling down what the book is.
Did you read the book or watch the film before?
I did both. I didn’t know whether I should watch the film but it turned out they are two completely different monsters. I mean, it is all the same material but one is a two-hour film and the other one has six hours to explore different avenues.
Cathcart makes quite an impression when he finally appears in Episode 1, giving a speech to the soldiers that is nothing like the type of pep talks you gave as Coach Taylor on Friday Night Lights. Was it easy to channel that fury?
It was fun. My character is so much fun. There is a looniness to him but I was trying to keep it grounded. I didn’t want him to become a caricature. I tried to find his humanity and I connected his emotions to real events.
What was it like working with George Clooney, who starred in, directed and produced the series?
It was very enjoyable. I fit into the way he does things very easily. He is very laidback and relaxed. He loves to joke around. At the same time, when he gives direction he knows exactly what he wants. And if you ask him a question he has got an answer and there is nothing befuddled about it.