'Catch 22' actor Julie Ann Emery says writer Luke Davies did a great job rendering a more modern portrayal of women
Actor Julie Ann Emery will be seen in the upcoming Hulu miniseries called 'Catch-22' starring George Clooney, Christopher Abbott, and Hugh Laurie among others. In the show based on the book of the same name, Emery plays the role of Marion Scheisskopf, wife of Lieutenant Scheisskopf (later promoted to General) played by George Clooney.
The role of Marion in the book is of a woman whose sexual desires remains unfulfilled by her husband, a man who is obsessed about parades and just that. While the character in the show is based on the book, writer Luke Davies has updated it out to make Marion an interesting female character in the times of World War II.
In an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), Emery revealed how the character is different from the book and what about the character impressed her the most. What interested Emery the most about Marion was when she first heard the role was about the way she celebrates her body and is comfortable in her own skin, which the 'Catch-22' actor said is slightly foreign to her.
"Marion is pretty different from me in real life. She celebrates her body and is comfortable in her own skin in a way that is slightly foreign to me. I once went to a swim party in L.A. and didn't even bring a bathing suit because I was too self-conscious of my body. Marion would happily and comfortably walk around naked all the time if society would allow it. What is that Marilyn Monroe quote? 'The body is meant to be seen, not all covered up.' That's Marion. When she walks out of the door, she expects to be seen. She thrives on it. When I walk out my front door, it is most often in a tee shirt and a baseball cap. If I learned anything from playing Marion, it is to allow myself to be more comfortable in my own skin and to stop my own body shaming," Emery said.
She also explained further what makes on-screen Marion different from the one portrayed in the book. Marion, in the book, decides to have affairs with men who are trained under her husband as a way of revenge but what drives her is not just lack of attention.
Emery said, "I play George Clooney's wife (General Scheisskopf), but in no way do I think Marion does what she does because she isn't getting enough attention from her husband. And this is maybe where Luke Davies' script varies from the book the most because the Hulu series deepens the women. There aren't a lot of us — it is World War II in Italy. The book is pretty dated in its portrayal of women. Luke did a great job updating and fleshing out the female characters."
She added, "From the moment I read the first script, I thought, this is a woman in the 1940s in an extremely unhappy marriage. She has few options. At that time, a woman filing for divorce was a very difficult course. A woman couldn't sign a lease or take out a line of credit without the signature of a husband or father. To me, Marion's philandering was always about taking some sort of control over her own life. Proving to herself that she had agency at least over her own body… and having a good time in the process."
"Adding to that, General Scheisskopf is described by his men as a sadist. I don't think that being a sadist or a control freak is something you drop when you get home from work. In the book, Marion sleeps with a string of men under her husband's command. There is obviously a revenge element there. In the series, it is only one man, Yossarian. And while their physical relationship is ecstatic and a lot of fun, they do have a connection, an understanding of one another that goes past simple revenge sex."
Other than 'Catch-22' which will premiere on Hulu May 17, Emery is currently shooting for season 4 of 'Preacher' in Australia. With regards to that, she said, "It is our final season and starts airing on August 4."