Chuck Lorre Was Concerned Charlie Sheen Would Die
Now that one of the most combative and public Hollywood feuds of all time has died down, the participants are starting to speak about what happened with more contemplation than emotion. Charlie Sheen has completely backed away from his anger and hostility toward CBS and Two And A Half Men, and his longtime collaborator, friend and enemy Chuck Lorre is doing the same. In a telling interview, the showrunner and creator of the most successful comedy on television admits he was deeply hurt by some of Sheen’s quotes but also never lost a begrudging respect for how cool and effortless Charlie made it all look.
Despite how it ended, the relationship between Lorre and Sheen was mutually beneficial to both men for years. Two And A Half Men flourished thanks to a combination of their two unique points of view, which is probably why both felt so betrayed when things started going south. Charlie couldn’t get over being forced to take time off, and Chuck couldn’t get past a lingering sense that his star might have been headed for an early grave. Here’s an excerpt from TV Guide’s sitdown in which Lorre explains why they had to move in a different direction and fire Sheen…
“People were really frightened that they were signing off on what could have had devastating consequences. This was not a game. This was drug addiction writ large. This was big-time cocaine and in his own words, an 'epic drug run' that could have ended with either his death or someone else's."
Of course, Charlie’s “epic drug run” didn’t end with a funeral. In fact, a strong case could be made that the actor is more stable and motivated right now than he’s ever been. Whether he would have found that peace had he remained on Two And A Half Men can’t possibly be known, but considering how well it’s all turned out, there’s no reason to think the right decision wasn’t made.
At the time, many observers thought firing Sheen was the only possible decision, but apparently, Lorre actually told CBS he’d quit if they thought that was in the best interests of the show. He still would have maintained a financial stake, but some thought his removal from day-to-day operations could have facilitated peace.
Here’s to hoping Charlie’s new show Anger Management proves a wonderful creative outlet, Chuck’s able to right the ship on Two And A Half Men and both men one day hug it out and lose any lingering resentment.