- Chuck Lorre praises Charlie Sheen’s comedic abilities and willingness to make amends, expressing excitement about working with him again after the actor made amends for their Two and a Half Men feud.
- Sheen’s character in the show will poke fun at his past problems, showing Sheen’s good sport attitude and ability to make fun of himself.
- Sheen’s role in Bookie and his personal growth could potentially lead to a second comeback for the actor and put him back in the spotlight.
With over a decade gone since the two’s infamous fallout, Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre reveals how Charlie Sheen made amends with him ahead of working with him on Bookie. During one of his darker chapters of his substance abuse issues, Sheen was fired from the hit CBS sitcom for making offensive comments about Lorre publicly, with the show killing him off and replacing him with Ashton Kutcher for its remaining four seasons. After largely staying out of the spotlight for the past few years, it was announced that Sheen would reunite with Lorre for Bookie, starring in a recurring role alongside comedian Sebastian Maniscalco.
As the show’s premiere draws near, Variety caught up with Lorre to discuss Bookie and working with Sheen again after their infamous Two and a Half Men feud. The creator expressed his enthusiasm at getting to reunite with his former star for the Max comedy, admitting that Sheen was his first choice for his role in the show and praising not only the actor’s comedic abilities, but also his willingness to make fun of himself in the show and work for making amends with Lorre. See what Lorre shared below:
It should be Charlie. I remember Charlie was very much engaged in sports betting, and he would tell me stories about it all the time. You know, when things were good. It was too painful (to rewatch Two and a Half Men re-reruns for years). (I’ve) gotten to this place where it’s old news. I loved working with Charlie on ‘Two and a Half Men.’ We did 170 episodes together before it all fell apart. And more often than not, we had a good time. Assuming he’s in a good place, I’m in a good place. I was nervous, but almost as soon as we started talking, I remembered, we were friends once. And that friendship just suddenly seemed to be there again. I don’t want to be too mawkish about it, but it was healing. And he was also totally game to make fun of himself. When he came to the table read of that episode, I walked up, and we hugged. It was just great. He proceeded to kill it at the table read. His chops were just so finely tuned, as if we had not missed a beat.
The script doesn’t pull punches: Maniscalco’s character calls Sheen a “f——ad” and points to Jon Cryer as the real star of Two and a Half Men. “That really falls on Charlie being a really good sport. He’s playing a version of himself that has shadows of past problems, and he was fine with it.”
Sheen had one concern: In the original script, “Charlie Sheen” the character is staying at a rehab facility. “He was kind of like, ‘Can we not do the drug-addled Charlie anymore?’” notes Lorre, who agreed to make a tweak. In the episode, Sheen is still running a poker game at the facility, but it’s in a room that he has rented out for the occasion. “It’s a rehab that he knows, but he’s not there to dry out from drugs and alcohol — he’s just running a poker game. And that solved that. I wasn’t seeking to do damage to the man. I wanted to hopefully take people’s perceptions and make it comedic, not dark.”
How Bookie Can Be Charlie Sheen’s Second Comeback
Shortly after being dismissed from Two and a Half Men, Sheen attempted to mount a comeback in the form of the FX sitcom Anger Management, loosely based on the Adam Sandler movie of the same name. Though garnering generally negative reviews, it was a strong performer in the ratings in its first season, leading to a mammoth 90-episode renewal that carried it through until its 2014 ending. The show wasn’t without its own controversies, however, as Sheen pressured Lionsgate into firing Selma Blair after her vocal complaints of him being a “menace” to work with on set.
While having a string of personal issues invading his professional work in the past, a decade has past since Sheen’s infamous headlines and his role in Bookie could very well prove to be a second comeback for the actor. Lorre’s praise of the actor and his efforts to make amends with his former Two and a Half Men creator does show some promise of Sheen’s personal growth and overcoming some of his personal demons.
The other major reason Bookie could put Sheen back in the spotlight is the fact he’s willing to play a fictionalized version of himself that doesn’t pull too many punches. While titles like Entourage have given celebrities the chance to play altered versions of themselves, the Nicolas Cage-led The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent better showed how this concept can be used for a more meaningful character study as much as for an entertaining ode to fans of the actor. It remains unclear how Bookie will explore this concept tonally, but Sheen’s openness to take a meaningful look at himself could very well lead to one of his best roles since Two and a Half Men ended.
Charlie Sheen is also working with Entourage creator Doug Ellin for a Hollywood-set dramedy entitled Ramble On, which shot its pilot in early 2022 and is still looking for a studio to acquire it.