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Clean Sweep Asian Premiere Starring Charlene McKenna | CinemaWorld Exclusive

Clean Sweep Asian Premiere Starring Charlene McKenna | CinemaWorld Exclusive


Set in West Ireland, the gloomy Irish weather is perfect for this up-and-coming mystery-thriller. Clean Sweep stars award-winning Irish actress, Charlene McKenna, who plays the multi-faceted Shelly Mohan — a mother, a wife and a murderer.

In this 6-part crime series, Shelly Mohan’s seemingly mundane life is suddenly spun into chaos when an ex-boyfriend reappears, dragging with him a host of unwanted memories and dangerous truths from her past. By revealing the protagonist as the murderer in its pilot episode, Clean Sweep takes a unique approach to the crime-thriller genre as it centres on the anxious and mysterious mother/wife/murderer who is desperate to escape the grasps of the law.

All 6 episodes of Clean Sweep are now available as an Exclusive Asian Premiere on CinemaWorld.

McKenna was awarded Best Actress (Television) at the Irish Film & Television Awards 2009 for her role in Raw (2008) and nominated for numerous awards for her incredible range of characters over the years. Alongside co-star Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer), she also starred as the fearsome Captain Swing in Peaky Blinders (2019–2022).

An Exclusive Interview With Actress & Executive Producer, Charlene McKenna

CinemaWorld: Your fellow cast member, Ni Ainle, has put it quite interestingly that Clean Sweep is a whydunnit rather than a whodunnit. Why was such a creative storytelling direction taken? What was the biggest challenge when telling a story like this?

McKenna: That's really a question for Gary, the writer. I don't know quite what inspired him to write a whydunnit rather than a whodunnit, but I know he was very inspired by real life – as he called it, soccer moms who committed crimes. There's quite a plethora of you-know-whodunnits out there and I think a whydunnit has a much more intriguing psychological aspect. I can't really speak for him, but I would imagine that is why that storytelling direction was taken.


CinemaWorld: Playing a character like Shelly Mohan who was constantly on the edge is definitely challenging. I believe the job is made harder when you are also a first-time executive producer on this project. How did you juggle both roles simultaneously? Has being an executive producer changed your perspective as an actor?

McKenna: For me, it was about making Shelly very real. I wanted the audience to feel like they were in her shoes and to consider what they would do. I wanted them to understand where she was coming from, why she did what she did, and to have it very rooted in reality by setting up a world of inner conflict. To convey how it feels to do anything to protect your family and to get people to understand – that was my biggest challenge. And yep, playing a character like Shelly Mohan who was constantly on the edge was definitely challenging. (laughs)

It was a lot of extra work juggling both roles as an actor and executive producer (laughs) but my main mission in being an executive producer on this was to make sure that I had some creative say and have more of an input so that I could feel more deeply entrenched in the project across the board, which was kind of what happened. It was a very tight shooting schedule so it was a lot of work, so I had to work day and night, basically, for the whole shoot.

I mean, there were much more hands-on producers and executive producers, because there's only so much I could do with shooting pretty much every scene every day. You kind of divide and conquer. When my acting hat was on, that’s what I was doing, and then when I'd go home in the evening, I'd put more of an executive-y producer head on in terms of writing emails to the writer or emails to other people, so yes, you're not fully switching off as much.


CinemaWorld: Your character in Peaky Blinders, Captain Swing, is a ruthless, cut-throat antagonist that forms an uneasy alliance with Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy). Similarly, Shelly Mohan in Clean Sweep is a murderer in plain sight. What draws you to playing such complex antagonistic characters? 

McKenna: Who doesn't want to play complex, antagonistic characters? It's so interesting. It's so much fun to play, to pick apart, to analyse and get inside their brain to understand where they are coming from. It is absolutely fascinating to me to play people that are morally complex, psychologically complex and to get under their skin and to find out where they're coming from, and to try and understand them even though you might not agree with them – and I completely don’t. But to put that to one side and get into who they are – I find it endlessly satisfying and interesting.


CinemaWorld: What do you look for in the characters that you play?

McKenna: I look for depth, or humor… You know, there's no one person in this entire world who is one dimensional even if they're seemingly dull on the surface, or there's something inside them that has rendered them dull to the outside world. If you get under their skin you'll find that every human is far from one dimensional or dull. So, I look for that. I look for what's under what's under their skin.


CinemaWorld: If there is a Season 2 for Clean Sweep, what would you like for the season to explore?

McKenna: It’s hard to answer this question without giving spoilers for Season 1, so I have to tread very carefully here. Well, I would like to see what happens to her and what happens to their family. Clean Sweep is very much about love, heart and family, and what happens when that's ripped apart. So I would like to see the family's fallout, how she copes, where they go, and the resolution – is there a resolution? I'm sure it's all in Gary's head, so I would be very excited for a Season 2.


CinemaWorld: Clean Sweep is making its Asian Premiere, exclusively on CinemaWorld this January. Convince our audience in Asia to watch Clean Sweep in 5 words. 

McKenna: Ooh – Drama, heart, sex, intrigue, explosion – I don't mean bombs (laughs), I mean explosive family dynamics.


CinemaWorld: What film/ series are you binge-watching at the moment?

McKenna: I'm not binging it because it's released weekly but I'm really enjoying The Curse at the minute with Emma Stone, whom I think she is an incredible actress.


CinemaWorld: Is there a character/ role that you would wish to attempt in future? Why?

McKenna: Oh my God. I mean tons, tons and tons and tons. I would love to play a broad range of roles. Characters that are funny, stories with drama… just scripts with good storytelling and good characters. I don't have something particular in mind. It could be a cowgirl in Kansas, it could be someone like Shelly Mohan, who is a seemingly normal suburban housewife – just characters who are very interesting to me because that's what floats my boat.


If you are a fan of the true story-inspired crime-thriller series, DNA, don’t miss Clean Sweep — coming to you this January. The series is also available on CinemaWorld On Demand anytime from 1 January 2024. Subscribe to CinemaWorld NOW to catch the Exclusive Asian premiere of Clean Sweep.

Be the first in line for the Exclusive Asian Premieres of award-winning international films or box-office hits, join our community of film lovers today!


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