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Feature: Primetime

The Cleaner

The Cast of The Cleaner

Benjamin Bratt becomes the ultimate do-gooder after striking a deal with God in The Cleaner

Inspired by the true story of a real life Ďextreme interventionist,í Warren Boyd, Benjamin Bratt stars as William Banks in this new drama, who strikes a tentative deal with God after hitting rock-bottom from his own addictions; in exchange for a second chance, he vows to kick his addictions and dedicate his life to assisting others. Now, along with his unconventional team, he helps people get clean from their own addictions by any means necessary.

With a successful theatrical career, Benjamin Bratt admits emphatically that it was Ďthe writing, the writing, the writing,í that attracted him to this project. ďLike every actor, Iím always on the look out for good material. And at the point that I read this, it didnít matter to me if it was a film or television project. I just loved the complexity of the lead character. Iím somewhat familiar with the world that it unfolds in, and I thought it was an interesting construct for a television series, however a little unbelievable. I told Robert Munic, the co-creator of it, ĎI really dig this character, and I think it could be a really good series, but my only concern is that how believable will it be that thereís such a guy as an extreme interventionist and what the hell is that?í He chuckled and said, ĎOh, you didnít know? Itís actually based on a real guy who happens to be one of the co-producers of the show.í And once that was said, I played coy but set about surreptitiously campaigning for the role.Ē

Of the characterís pact with God, Bratt acknowledges that, ďpart of the backstory we created for William Banks is that he more than likely didnít grow up a particularly religious guy at all, in fact probably quite the opposite. And so when he finally makes this pact with God, itís definitely out of desperation. So on some level, his ongoing serialized relationship with God as it unfolds over the course of the series is going to be contingent on how well heís doing and how successful he is, not only in his chosen vocation, but with his family. And so his faith will be continually questioned.Ē

Warren Boyd confesses overseeing the reenacted of his life on a weekly basis feels uncanny. ďItís like Benjamin was watching my life, he even pulls off my mannerisms. Iíve been at this for almost two decades. This [series] takes my life back to about twelve years ago, at that time there were a small group of four to five people, and [we helped people] with sex addictions, gambling addictions, anorexia, there are many of them, itís not just about drugs. My hope [for the show] is that we can reach a vast amount of people, even if itís a small message to get somebody to start thinking that there is hope. The bottom line for me is, itís okay to get help and itís also okay to help somebody. Thatís what I hope comes out of all of this.Ē

by Judy Sloane

There's much, much more in
TV Zone #231

Photo © Jay Silverman
Feature © Visual Imagination 2008. Not for reproduction

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TV Zone #231
August 2008
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