TV Critics Tour: Bratt Learns That Art Imitates Life


Beverly Hills, Calif. – Actor Benjamin Bratt admitted that initially he thought the storyline for his new series on A&E Network sounded too farfetched – and then learned it was based on a real person.

In fact, Bratt appeared Wednesday on a Television Critics Association panel on The Cleanerwith the man whose story the scripted series is based on, Warren Boyd, who is co-executive producer for the series. The Cleaner debuts next Tuesday.

Bratt plays William Banks, a former addict who after hitting rock bottom struck a deal with God to dedicate is life to helping others, along with a team he has enlisted. Boyd’s real-life story is the inspiration for The Cleaner, A&E’s first scripted drama in more than six years.

Bratt said that his first impression when he was approached about the show was that it was “an interesting construct for a television series, an interesting premise, however a little bit unbelievable.”

Bratt said he told The Cleaner’s producers, “I actually dig this character, and I think it could be a really good series. My only concern is that how believable will it be that there’s such a guy as an extreme interventionist and what the hell is that?” According to Bratt, the producers “just chuckled and they said, ‘Oh, you didn’t know? It’s actually based on a real guy who happens to be one of the co-producers of the show.’” 

During the session, Boyd said he now has 17 permanent people on his team, with 30 to 40 others on-call.

Boyd said the show’s depiction of his life and family is spot-on.

Referring to Bratt, Boyd said, “It’s like he was watching my life…as he even pulls off the mannerisms….I can tell you that pilot’s almost exact.”    

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