During a Wednesday, November 1, interview with Variety, Lorre, 71, recalled reaching out to Sheen’s rep after “assuming [Sheen was] in a good place” and “getting to this place where [the feud is] old news.”
Lorre said he was “nervous” to reconnect with Sheen, 58, but soon found that the actor was also ready to let bygones be bygones.
“Almost as soon as we started talking, I remembered, we were friends once,” Lorre said. “And that friendship just suddenly seemed to be there again. I don’t want to be too mawkish about it, but it was healing. And he was also totally game to make fun of himself.”
Lorre and Sheen had a falling-out in 2011 when Sheen called the showrunner a “contaminated little maggot” for deciding to shut down production on Two and a Half Men amid Sheen’s personal issues. Sheen was subsequently fired from the CBS sitcom.
Now, more than a decade later, the pair have not only made peace but have become collaborators again. As Lorre and Nick Bakay were working on the pilot script for their new Max comedy series, Bookie, which is set to premiere November 30, they knew they wanted a real-life star to play a version of themselves. Lorre realized that Sheen would be a perfect fit.
“I remember Charlie was very much engaged in sports betting and he would tell me stories about it all the time. You know, when things were good,” the producer told Variety. “When he came to the table read of that episode, I walked up, and we hugged. It was just great. He proceeded to kill it at the table read. His chops were just so finely tuned, as if we had not missed a beat.”
Bakay, 64, admitted that Lorre’s idea to cast Sheen “scared” him at first.
“But also, I know Chuck well enough to know all that this meant. I knew everything that was below the waterline of that iceberg,” said Bakay. “And I knew there was a part of him that was ready to do something to turn that page on a more significant level.”
Bakay added that Sheen “looked great” when he showed up to the pilot read-through. “He was easy and charming and then proceeded to put on a clinic of how you do a table read,” he said.
Sheen struggled with alcohol and drug abuse during his time on Two and a Half Men before getting sober in late 2017. The Anger Management alum exclusively opened up to Us Weekly in February 2019 about the moment he knew he needed to make a change.
“It was a Sunday. My daughter called and said, ‘I need to get to this appointment immediately,’ and I’d already had a few drinks,” he recalled. “I was just like, ‘Damn, man, I’m not available. I’m just not responsible, and there’s no nobility in that.’ It was that night, I just sat with all that. … If you can’t be available for the basic necessity of being there for your children, then something really needs to shift.”
Sheen shares daughter Cassandra, 38, with high school sweetheart Paula Speert, daughters Sami, 19, and Lola, 18, with ex-wife Denise Richards, and twin sons Bob and Max, 14, with ex-wife Brooke Mueller.