After Reuniting With Two And A Half Men’s Chuck Lorre For New Show, Charlie Sheen Had One Request For His Role

 Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men.
Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men.

The entertainment industry has seen some major reunions as of late, but there’s one I’m not sure many had on their 2023 bingo cards. Charlie Sheen joined forces with mega producer Chuck Lorre for a new comedy years after his highly publicized firing from CBS’ Two and a Half Men. While the development was certainly surprising, it was likely a welcome turn of events for those who are fans of the two collaborators’ work. Lorre recently took some time to shed light on how he finally squashed his beef with Sheen. And while doing so, the writer/EP also explained one request the actor had after he signed on for his latest show.

Chuck Lorre and Charlie Sheen are teaming up for the single-camera comedy How to Be a Bookie. The 2023 TV schedule entry, which will be available to Max subscription holders, will star Sebastian Maniscalco as a bookmaker named Danny, who attempts to adapt to changes within the world of sports gambling. Sheen is set to play a fictionalized version of himself who has dealings with Maniscalco’s character. Part of Sheen’s on-screen arc involves him holding a poker game in a rehab facility on the down low. The original idea for the show was that the Anger Management veteran was also staying there as well. However, Lorre – who wanted to cast Sheen due to his knowledge of the gambling world – revealed that the actor asked if an alteration could be made:

He was kind of like, ‘Can we not do the drug-addled Charlie anymore?’ 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.

That’s a very considerate narrative change, and you can imagine that the veteran actor really appreciated it. Aside from being a key change for the show, it also signifies that the star is seemingly looking to move past the personal struggles he dealt with long ago. At this point, it’s been several years since the Spin City alum has acted. However, it seems like there he didn’t need to shake off any rust when he started work on How to Be a Bookie. Chuck Lorre went on to tell Variety that the star “proceeded to kill it at the table read” and that “his chops were just so finely tuned.” Series co-writer and EP Nick Bakay agreed with Lorre’s assessment while discussing that particular day of work:

Look, there’s a wild-card factor there that you would be bullshit if you weren’t copping to. There’s that sense of, who’s showing up? What’s this gonna be? I haven’t seen him work in a long time. But he looked great. He was easy and charming and then proceeded to put on a clinic of how you do a table read. Your first table read of your first episode of a new show, is a bit of a high blood pressure event to begin with.

I don’t know about any of you, but I never would’ve thought the two comedy vets would reach such another period of creative bliss, considering the timeline of Charlie Sheen’s exit from Men. Sheen entered rehab amid production on the hit CBS sitcom’s eighth season, which coincided with the 2010-2011 TV season. In the spring of the latter year, the star made disparaging remarks about Chuck Lorre (the co-creator, co-writer and EP), including some comments deemed antisemitic. It was in March 2011 that Sheen was fired by Warner Bros. TV and the Eye Network. Thanks to a turnaround by a CBS exec, the show was able to tap Ashton Kutcher as his replacement and air for four more seasons.

There was actually a time after the drama that Chuck Lorre couldn’t even watch Two and a Half Men reruns due to what went down. However, that changed shortly before he mended fences with his former lead actor. It’s simply wonderful that Lorre and Charlie Sheen were able to move past their differences and get on good terms again. With the creatives working in harmony, their latest collaboration will hopefully become one of the best original Max shows to stream. I’m curious to see what Sheen manages to bring to the proceedings as, thanks to that request, portrays a clean and sober (yet likely still-eccentric) version of himself.

How to Be a Bookie is set to hit Max on November 30. In the meantime, those who are feeling nostalgic for Two and a Half Men can stream the entire series using a Peacock subscription.