William Goodhart was a Broadway playwright and screenwriter. He wrote Exorcist II: The Heretic.
John Boorman, who felt that ‘The Exorcist’ was little more than a film about the torture of a child, was an odd choice to direct, but Goodhart’s treatment piqued his interest. Goodhart wanted to explore the theories and theology of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit priest and archaeologist on whom Blatty had based Father Merrin. Teilhard believed that mankind was moving towards an evolutionary stage where telepathic communication would engender global consciousness. This dovetailed with Boorman’s ideal that ‘The Heretic’ “would be the antidote” to ‘The Exorcist’ instead of a sequel; a metaphysical drama instead of a horror film. (It’s telling that Boorman’s autobiography refers to the film as simply ‘The Heretic’, pointedly leaving the word “exorcist” out of the title.)