Listen: 'The Chosen' producer Katherine Warnock talks with Laura Bennett about the Christmas special and series' success
The success of The Chosen series is certainly unprecedented. It’s the first episodic dramatisation of Jesus’ life and his followers, and it has become the most successful crowd-funded project of all time, raising US$10 million dollars to fund its first season.
It is now one of two seasons – soon to be three – reigniting global interest in the gospels as it nears 320 million views on its app alone.
Christmas with The Chosen was released in Australia today, December 13, and producer Katherine Warnock told Hope 103.2, “The special is an episode we filmed completely in secret, and is such a joy to spring on the world”.
“It’s going to look at the birth of Jesus from the perspective of Mary and Joseph: an afraid, anxious teenager who said ‘yes’ to her life being upended, and Joseph – this man that loved his wife and loved God and was honouring the call that they were both asked to partake in”. Katherine said.
“[The episode] is what we imagine Mary and Joseph went through, and the beautiful humanity of that night of Jesus being born.”
Although Katherine has worked in faith media for almost 15 years, when she was first presented with a script for The Chosen she said, “I had never seen anything like it”.
“I’d never seen anything so alive, so authentic and so intentional.”
People are attracted to “the humanity of Jesus”, she said.
People are attracted to “the humanity of Jesus”, – Christmas with The Chosen producer Katherine Warnock
“So many of us have been raised in this faith that is steeped in religion and lacking in relationship – it’s more anchored in judgment or performance,” Katherine said.
“To encounter an authentic Jesus that is on-screen ‘blowing raspberries’ to kids, making them toys, dancing at weddings, while also healing people and having the hard conversations [as he] loves people back to life is profound.”
Putting the show together is, of course, work but just at the series has influenced the spiritual lives of its viewers, Katherine “unequivocally” said its impacted her own as well.
Years ago, she said she “cried out to God and said ‘would you give me a plough to put my hand to for your kingdom? Would you give me an assignment?”.
“That was [a long time ago], and I feel like I’ve taken this huge journey professionally [that] got me ready for this job.”
Katherine’s feeing of being divinely positioned to work on the show is shared by many, which is “the highlight” of working on the series.
“Behind every scene that you watch, there is the story of a crew that aren’t all Christian by any means, but that are delighting and marvelling in what they’re seeing unfold before them.”
Christmas with The Chosen will stream first on Wonder from December 13.
Listen to Katherine Warnock’s full interview with Laura Bennett in the player above, where she also talks about creating a missional work culture, the nine career redundancies she faced before working on The Chosen and the advice she had give others with a passion for faith-based entertainment.