Charlie Sheen hopes to be winning the series television game once more.
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
-- inspired by the 2003
Adam Sandler-Jack Nicholson
movie -- Thursday, June 28, with Sheen starring as a 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 (executive produced by
"Drew Carey Show"
), his colorful recent past and some of the ways in which the two are blending with this writer.
PICS: Charlie Sheen Notable Quotables
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.
Zap2it: Since the show is being sold largely on your presence in it, do you anticipate a big viewership?
Charlie Sheen: 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 Bruce Helford, who knows how to make more than a show. He knows how to make a hit show.
Zap2it: The series is on FX, which is known for edgy shows. Does "Anger Management" fit that bill?
We're doing traditional, multicamera 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 into 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.
Zap2it: If there is such a thing as a "Charlie Sheen persona," seen in your last series role as well as your cameo reprise of Bud Fox in the 2010 movie
"Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," do you feel your "Anger Management" character also has it?
Charlie Sheen: 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.
Zap2it: If this hadn't come up when it did, do you think you would have taken a longer break from series TV?
Probably, yeah. I was looking for some type of a backup if the Warner deal (the lawsuit Sheen filed against the "Two and a Half Men" studio) didn't go in my favor, and I had this on the back burner. Then it moved to the forefront. Over maybe two or three years, we'll deliver what normally would take eight or nine.
Zap2it: With that potential for a 100-episode order- - highly unusual for a debuting series these days -- which are you feeling more, excitement or responsibility?
Both. It's a real boost of confidence, but it's also that thing of, "Oh, boy. Now it's not just a thought or a conversation. It's actually real." I can't affect the results, all I can do is the best work I can. If we know we're doing our best, the other part will be fine.
Zap2it: 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.
Zap2it: Your father,
Martin Sheen, has signed to play your dad on the show. Are other family members involved?
might do an episode arc as a therapy patient, or come in and direct some episodes for us. My brother
is on the show as a producer, and my sister
is on the writing staff. It's quite a place, to be able to look up and see a lot of people that I love and trust.
Zap2it: With all that has happened lately where you're concerned, what message would you most like to give people now?
Charlie Sheen: It's hard to sum up the past year with one message. In honesty, at times, it was a hero's journey -- and at other times, not. Consciously or subconsciously, there was some type of plan in the underpinnings of this whole at-times-macabre meltdown. It wasn't completely random, but in retrospect, it feels like it was happening to somebody else.
Zap2it: Was there a point where you finally tired of reading and hearing about it?
Oh, yeah. I'd already lived it and explained it, then to keep talking about it was like being stuck in a redundant cycle. I think people are starting to see that it wasn't a complete departure from rationale and logic, but there was a flashpoint or a tipping point or something. Whatever it was, I'm still working on that.