Charlie Sheen is riding the crest of a fame wave but
still has time for his fans. Hannah Tattersall reports.
Anger Management star Charlie Sheen still has time for his
fans. Photo by Reuters.
After his well-publicised drug-fuelled meltdown, in which he
famously declared himself in possession of ''tiger's blood''
and to be ''winning'' at well, life, most people had just
about had enough of Charlie Sheen.
Not the FX network in the US, which lined the actor up for
100 episodes of its new television series, Anger
Management. Sure enough, shortly after his dismissal from
popular comedy Two and a Half Men, audiences were in
for another large dose of the controversial star.
But the truth is, people love Charlie Sheen. He has an army
of fans, including almost nine million followers on Twitter.
Certainly when I turn up to meet the actor outside a bar in
downtown New York, hordes of them appear out of nowhere.
Phones start flashing and shouts of ''Charlie! Charlie!''
ring out across the street. One guy begs Sheen's publicist to
let him have a picture taken with his ''idol''.
What sets Sheen apart from other celebrities is his
willingness to co-operate. The actor rarely turns away a fan,
for the simple reason that back when Sheen was a young
baseball devotee, one of his idols refused him an autograph
and left him feeling angry and rejected.
''I've kind of become a man of the people, as cliched as that
sounds,'' the actor admits.
''I love the people. They're not intimidated by me. I hate
creating fear in people - I feel like a bully. They're
already so nervous and so vulnerable coming up I have to
spend an extra minute making them feel comfortable.''
His eagerness to please is a side of Sheen not often played
out in the media. Yes, he can be charming and charismatic,
but there's that other part of him that doesn't hold back. He
clearly still holds resentment towards Two and Half
Men creator Chuck Lorre, who sacked him from the show,
and refers to it mockingly throughout our interview as ''Two
and a Half Losers''.
Despite this, Sheen still expects to make an appearance in
the show's final episode.
''There's still people that I would want to avoid for the
rest of my life, because they suck and they always will and
it's not my fault and at this point it's none of my business
what they do,'' he says.
''But I think with the foundation I was able to create and
the success we had I've earned the right to be in that final
Until then, Sheen is riding the popularity of Anger
Management, an easy-to-watch comic series churned out at
the rate of 27 episodes in three months. But Sheen insists
this series, about a therapist battling his own anger issues,
is formulaic without being sappy.
''Television is like a toilet that won't flush right now, you
know? It's full of so many turds,'' he says.
''We don't wrap up every show perfectly in the last scene at
the end of the show in the mayor's office.''
The constant filming schedule also keeps Sheen out of trouble
and means he'll be finished in two years. The star, whose
daughter is expecting a baby, says by then he'll have had
enough of acting.
''I'm looking forward to this grandfather thing, I'm looking
forward to retirement. Hell yeah, after the show's done, I'm
done. Two more years,'' he says.
It's hard to imagine Sheen will give it all up - he's only 47
now - but you'd be forgiven for believing Sheen had lived a
number of lifetimes. His first casting was at age 19 in the
film Red Dawn with Patrick Swayze, before he landed
roles in cult favourite Ferris Bueller's Day Off and
Oliver Stone's Platoon and Wall Street, which
set him on a path to quick success. But his hard-partying
lifestyle has always dominated headlines more than his acting
abilities. His face has been frequently plastered across
tabloids alongside the words drugs, alcohol, prostitutes and
arrest - often simultaneously.
However, the way he sees it is that he's never done anything
''I've never busted in with a machine gun or murdered harp
seals,'' he says.
''I'm just trying to contribute something while maybe
learning something, you know? Or not. I'm just trying to
enjoy the moment.''
Midway through our interview, one of Sheen's entourage turns
up and tells the actor he's had a media offer from Australia:
$700,000 to turn up to an event. Sheen asks if it's for
''There has to be a charity component. I'm very
philanthropic,'' he says.
Sheen has donated much of his money to various causes and
individuals, including $US75,000 ($NZ88,300) to a young girl
dying of cancer last year, and $US100,000 ($NZ117,800) to
help troubled star Lindsay Lohan when she couldn't pay her
Was that bout of generosity because he sees a bit of his own
behaviour in the actress?
''No, I'm not that hapless,'' he says, before adding, ''I'm
''In certain ways, but because she doesn't have the - and
there's no disrespect for her - the type of filmography that
stands on its own, she's a much easier target,'' he says of
''But they forget how good she was as a child and that talent
doesn't go away. She's that good - she's got to get out of
her own way.''
With a new film coming out, Roman Coppola's A Glimpse
Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, in which Sheen plays
a tormented soul who gradually self-destructs after a
break-up, a steady TV series and a grandchild ahead, is Sheen
finally growing up?
It's not likely.
''I act like I'm 12,'' he says. Then rethinks this.
''No, no. Fifteen.''
- Herald on Sunday
- The second series of Anger Management screens on
Sundays at 8pm on TV2