Amidst the chaos of Charlie Sheen’s high-profile departure from “Two and a Half Men,” Executive Producer Chuck Lorre didn’t say much. And this in spite of the fact that Sheen called Lorre disparaging terms like a “low rent, nut-less sociopath,” “a stupid, stupid little man” and an “earthworm.”
Lorre did take a couple of jabs at Sheen, primarily through the title cards that run at the end of each show episode. In one, Lorre wrote of his efforts to maintain his overall health, in stark contrast to Sheen’s reckless life, concluding with, “If Charlie Sheen outlives me, I’m gonna be really pissed.”
But for the most part Lorre’s remained mum on the matter. Of course with the series coming back for its ninth season and with Ashton Kutcher aboard, it’s time for Lorre to start talking.
He talks to TV Guide about the evolution of the hit comedy but steers relatively clear of trading insults with Sheen. Of course Sheen’s character is rumored to be killed off by getting run over by a subway car. So there is that.
Here are some of Lorre’s thoughts:
On why they kept the show going after Sheen’s firing: It just seemed like a shame not to try and keep this incredible ensemble, writing staff and crew together. And yes, there were many times I thought the show would stumble to an ignoble ending.
On why they went with Ashton Kutcher: When I met Ashton, then went back and watched his films and TV work, it was obvious my assumption was wrong. Here was a guy with great comedy instincts, tons of experience, and who is totally fearless — taking the job proves that. Most importantly, he has a big heart that I thought would be a huge asset in creating a character we could care for.
On the future of the show: It feels like the best of both worlds: a well-developed series and a brand new one at the same time.
On how the show’s tone will evolve: If, in the past, you enjoyed thinking, “I can’t believe they just did that raunchy joke,” you will not be disappointed in “Two and a Half Men” 2.0.
The series returns Sept. 19 at 9 p.m. ET.