By Jay Bobbin
Charlie Sheen hopes to be winning the series-television game once more.
More than a year after his much-documented and much-discussed dismissal from CBS’ Two and a Half Men, the actor is headlining a comedy show again. FX launches Anger Management — inspired by the 2003 Adam Sandler/Jack Nicholson film — with Sheen as an ex-baseball player turned unconventional anger therapist.
Much as his previous TV alter ego Charlie Harper incorporated a lot of Sheen’s own history and personality, so does his new character … another “Charlie.” He recently discussed the show and his colorful recent past, and some of the ways in which the two are blending.
How has making Anger Management gone for you so far?
Charlie Sheen: To say it’s going magically would be an understatement. It feels like something is happening here that requires an alignment of planets and a type of lightning in different-sized bottles. You can’t plan this type of thing, because everything has fallen into place perfectly.
Since the show is being sold largely on your presence in it, do you anticipate a big viewership?
Whether we can get eyes on this thing is the question, and I believe we can. A lot of people are moving from network to cable in their choices, and I don’t think we’re going to disappoint. I’m really impressed with [executive producer] Bruce Helford, who knows how to make more than a show. He knows how to make a hit show.
The series is on FX, which is known for edgy shows. Does Anger Management fit that bill?
We’re doing traditional, multi-camera sitcom material, and it doesn’t feel like the dialogue is suddenly cable-friendly. I think it would still be within the confines of broadcast standards and practices. People aren’t tuning in to a sitcom to hear [expletives], and that was the problem with the other show. That was a funny character, but he only had a few moves that got old after a while. Not everything can be solved with women, cigars and scotch.
If there is such a thing as a “Charlie Sheen persona,” seen in your last series role as well as your cameo as Bud Fox in the movie Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, do you feel your Anger Management character also has it?
It’s a much bigger leap than anything I’ve been asked to portray. If anything, it’s closer to me on Spin City than on Two and a Half Men. He’s challenged at every turn. He’s a flawed man, but the thrust is atonement, because of how his career ended from his own anger. There’s no judgment in his world, which is really interesting — and which I really respect.
Your ex-wife, Denise Richards, has filmed an episode of the show … playing your ex-wife. How did that go?
It’s symbolically, cosmically interesting that she’s playing that part, and she’ll probably recur. She was terrific, and we’re comfortable with each other. We’re friends now and we’re co-parenting pretty effectively, actually wonderfully. That Denise came onto the show is the real-life example that this does work, and I think that’s pretty cool.
Anger Management premieres on FX June 28 at 9pm ET and airs Thursdays.