Charlie Sheen has been to the edge and back, literally, in the past year after his public meltdown featuring over-the-top parties, his goddesses and weird catchphrases led to his being fired from his hit sitcom “Two and a Half Men.”
Now a calmer version of Sheen–once the highest-paid actor in television–is back with a new sitcom, “Anger Management,” debuting Thursday night on FX, in which he plays, not without irony, an anger management therapist.
“What do you think?” Sheen said today on “Good Morning America,” when asked if his new role is much of a stretch. “It’s nice to be in the chair and not the couch.”
The couch is where Sheen, 46, spent much of the past year in rehab after his career imploded in a string of headline-making incidents including a series of bizarre interviews in which he claimed to be a “warlock,” said he possessed “tiger blood and Adonis DNA,” and characterized his erratic behavior as “winning!”
When allegations arose that drugs were behind his erratic behavior he denied any substance abuse problems but claimed to be on the drug “called Charlie Sheen.” Today the new Sheen, recently cast to play the president in Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete” sequel, says he is not on any drugs, “Charlie Sheen” or otherwise,” but hasn’t been able to kick his other habit, alcohol.
“We live in a country where it’s always Miller Time so what are you going to do? It’s happy hour somewhere in the world,” Sheen said.
His time in rehab was not a first for Sheen, who has had several run-ins with the law for domestic abuse and drug allegations over the years, but it was possibly his last.
“I don’t believe in rehab anymore,” Sheen said today on “GMA.” “It’s not for me. It’s not for everyone. It’s not a one-size-fits-all and it didn’t fit me.”
The break away from the limelight did give Sheen the chance to look back at the time he says he was “never completely worried” about his safety and offered himself his own anger management advice.
“I’d grow a beard and head to Mexico,” he said of what he’d tell his old self. “Just stop being so damn angry.”
“My biggest regret is going a little too far,” Sheen said. “The key for me would have been the advice I got when I was in anger management myself for a year and that is you can always leave the room.”
Sheen’s erratic behavior and firing led to a lawsuit with CBS and a very public feud with “Men” creator Chuck Lorre. Reports from the “Anger Management” set have been nothing but positive which is how Sheen says he wants his TV legacy to end.
“It just felt like that I had the kind of career that that ["Men"] didn’t really fit into,” he said. ” Even though I was right and there were a couple of things they did that were wrong there is still a way to go about it that’s a little less than that. ”
Like he did on “Men” and the sitcom “Spin City” before that, Sheen plays a version of himself, a character again named Charlie, on “Anger Management.” He has said his planned role in the upcoming Roman Coppola film, “A Glimpse Into the Mind of Charles Swan III,” in which he, again, plays a “Charlie” will be the last time audiences see that similarity.
Don’t put it past Sheen, however, to turn his year of turmoil into commercial success.
“It is odd to look at some of the clips and some of the stuff and think, ‘Wow that was me, that was me. Wow,’” he said. “It’s a crazy character study on some level that will hopefully be valuable in the future.”