CASA GRANDE -- A Casa Grande-based writer is hoping to turn some of her books into a television series featuring Jesus as an Arnold Schwarzenegger-meets-Robin-Williams type of superhero.
“I want the television series to appeal to teens and young adults. Young people like superheroes,” said Katheryn Maddox Haddad, 78, author of more than 65 novels and books based on biblical figures. “In this show, I turn Jesus into a superhero who comes to Earth disguised as a carpenter and travels the world helping people.”
The proposed television show, with a working title of “The God-King,” is based on Haddad’s book series, “They Met Jesus.”
She’s written 84 scripts for 84 episodes, including a pilot.
The series would be similar to the “Touched by an Angel” and “Highway to Heaven” series, in that Jesus would encounter new characters and situations in each episode but the show would be written in a way to appeal to young people worldwide.
“I see Jesus as muscular — after all, he was a carpenter and a lumberjack, but he’d have the witty energy of someone like Robin Williams,” Haddad said. “In the show, if he sees a beggar who can’t stand, he’ll get on the ground and talk to him eye-to-eye.”
The show would have plenty of superhero-like miracles, mind-reading and heartfelt moments.
“In the show, Jesus isn’t seen so much as a holy man but is rather someone who connects with people,” Haddad said. “And the apostles have trouble keeping up with him. He’s so busy he skips meals and is always rushing off to the next person who needs his help.”
For the pilot, Haddad wrote two possible endings, and fans of her books can vote for the conclusion they like best by visiting a special website she’s set up to help develop the television series, https://comeflywithme-tv.com.
Originally, she hoped to sell the script and move on to her next book. She’s recently finished a new novel in her “Mysteries of the Empire” series centered on two men who are kicked out of ancient Rome and go in search of their uncle. But based on feedback she’s received from industry insiders about the potential high cost of developing a historical series, she’s putting together a team including a producer, distributer and others she hopes can turn the scripts into a television show.
Haddad is acting as a location scout and envisions Casa Grande as the place where the series would be shot. She’d like to see North Mountain Park transformed into a mini Bible-era town for filming. She’s figured out costs and has spoken with city officials about using various locations throughout town and says filming in Casa Grande has several advantages.
“Filming in Casa Grande would keep costs down and it would be a boon for the local economy,” she said. “It would provide jobs and the filming location could become a tourist attraction. We also have lots of local people who could be cast as extras.”
As author of dozens of non-fiction, children’s books and adult fiction, Haddad is an avid researcher, spending about 300 hours researching each novel.
For the television show, she read books on demographics and cultural trends to better understand the mindset of teenagers and young adults.
“This younger generation loves to use cuss words and shock people,” she said. “And they’re often misunderstood. They save their money and don’t go on spending sprees. They set boundaries for themselves. I read seven books trying to understand them as I wrote this show for them. I found that they’re a lot like my generation.”
Haddad has a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University, part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology and a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene Christian University.
She teaches English online to students worldwide, using the Bible as a textbook.
Haddad began working on scripts for the television show nearly two years ago. She hopes to team up with a producer based in Tucson and a distributor who envisions airing the show in Africa and possibly Eastern Europe as well as in the United States.