CBS hitmaker Chuck Lorre granted a candid interview with TV Guide, in which he detailed the catastrophic end of his creative collaboration with Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men. Lorre says Sheen’s downward spiral “broke my heart. I thought we were on the same road together. I mean, we held hands and prayed when his sons were born prematurely.” All in all, he admitted, “It was a painful year. I’ll be sorting it out for a long time.” Below, we bring you more of 2011’s high- and lowlights, as told by Lorre.
He nearly threw in the towel: “I offered to quit the show last winter. I said, ‘Listen, if for some reason I’m now the Antichrist I’m happy to leave. It’s not in my interest to stop the show, and I certainly don’t want to put all these people out of work. Keep going. Get another guy. Don’t stop on my account.”
About Sheen: “He always reminded me of Dean Martin. There’s that element of Charlie that’s admirable and he was the kind of guy you wanted to hang out with. He was a special guy. But special guys are not immune to drug addiction … Last January and February it was not working anymore. You couldn’t do that much cocaine and work. It was heartbreaking to be around here last year.”
He held out hope: “When he started attacking people with knives, that’s it. That should have been it. I should have walked. That’s unthinkable. No more. I’m done. But for some reason I thought that because she was willing to forgive him… we could emerge from this fiasco and be stronger and healthier.”
On CBS’ decision to fire Sheen: “[They] chose to make a moral decision as opposed to a financial one. But 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.”
On remaking Men: “We got to do something none of us ever dreamed of doing: We got to end a series and start a new series in 20 minutes … We were all like little kids here back in June, writing the show, trying to create a brand new series.”
Why he chose Ashton Kutcher: “Maybe for my own heath and welfare, I wanted to write a character who was coming from the light.”