George Clooney has said the moment is right for his Catch-22 adaptation because the world is facing “a pretty absurd time”.
The Hollywood actor stars in, produced and partially directed the TV version of Joseph Heller’s novel, which is set during the Second World War and follows a US airman as his attempts to escape battle are thwarted by a sinister bureaucratic rule.
Speaking at the premiere in London, Clooney told the Press Association: “There’s never really a bad time to talk about the absurdity of war and there is never a bad time to talk about trying to beat the system, because the system pretty much always wins and I think most people feel that way.
“I also feel like we are facing a pretty absurd time in our lives – all of us, every country around the world right now.”
“So I think any time we are able to laugh about it and remind ourselves that these things are temporary, it’s probably a good thing to do,” he added.
Clooney continued: “I think it’s always good to remind ourselves that war actually does cost the lives of a lot of young people.
“Old people make decisions and young people die.
“I think that’s always good to remind ourselves that that’s what we see ourselves building up, and focusing on Iran right now… It’s good to remind ourselves that these things aren’t simple and that they actually cost peoples lives.”
Christopher Abbott, who plays John Yossarian, said the themes “are very topical for today as history repeats itself often and things happen the same over and over and over again”.
“It deals a lot with the idea of men in power making decisions on behalf of young people that are dying and that is something that has always happened,” he said.
Catch-22 was adapted for the big screen in 1970, with stars such as Alan Arkin, Bob Balaban, Martin Sheen, Jon Voight and Orson Welles among the cast.
Asked of he felt any pressure following in its footsteps, Clooney said: “We didn’t want ours to be Ocean’s 11.
“We thought it was good to have not the most famous of actors and you know, put a couple of us in there that people might recognise.
“A lot of war films have 40-year-old guys playing privates and it’s good to have a bunch of really young actors playing these parts.”
The six-episode mini-series will air on Channel 4 in the UK.
The premiere was held at VUE Cinema Westfield, London.