With the second season of his “The Cleaner” A&E drama now launched, star Benjamin Bratt tells us he couldn’t be happier to have Whoopi Goldberg aboard in her recurring part of Paulina Kmec, a former drug addict, clean and sober for years, who was once Bratt’s character’s sponsor.
Was the role written especially for her?
“No, the character she plays was originally written for a middle-aged white male,” answers Bratt with a laugh. However, as he notes, “Whoopi is no stranger to breaking the mold.”
According to him, her participation on the show began when the Academy Award-winning actress and “View’ panelist reached out to “The Cleaner” head writer Jonathan Prince. “She sent him a congratulatory e-mail, and subsequently accepted an invitation to do the show. She got on a bus and came out to California to do it.”
He finds her “instantly warm and accessible…a genuine salt of the earth person.”
The gripping “Cleaner” has been getting its due appreciation in growing amounts. One of the best shows on television, it’s won ecstatic reviews – particularly for Bratt as recovering addict William Banks, whose business is helping other addicts recover, especially when they don’t want to. Bratt’s performance as the intervention master won him attention from the Entertainment Industries Council, which bestowed its Prism Award upon him. The show has increased its viewership. And it has also been garnering a unique following:: “On the A&E website, hundreds of people have reached out seeking help, looking for ways to maintain or find sobriety in real life,” Bratt tells us.
Warren Boyd, a former “extreme interventionist” himself and now co-executive producer and guiding light of the series, is working on putting together a database of information on the help available out there in the real world to answer those requests, according to Bratt.