I am the angriest guy on set, and I'm the therapist! ; Born into Hollywood royalty, perennial party boy Charlie Sheen has been newspaper fodder for most of his life, but is he really that 'out there' in real life? SUSAN GRIFFIN meets the man himselfTHE BIG INTERVIEW
Sheen's and has five TWO years ago, you couldn't pick up a paper without seeing Charlie Sheen's face plastered across it. He'd just been sacked for erratic behaviour from the sitcom Two And A Half Men, a role that reportedly earned him Pounds 1.2m an episode, along with the title of TV's highest-paid actor.
In the aftermath, whether he was drinking "tiger blood", wielding a machete, escorting porn star girlfriends or ranting at the masses, the press couldn't get enough of him, and the man himself has a theory about this.
"I march to a slightly different beat that most people can't hear, and whether the press are hacking me or celebrating me, they want me around because I keep things interesting," says the 48-year- old, wearing white cargo shorts and a purple shirt, accessorised with a gold chain and bandaged right wrist (from a fishing trip in Mexico).
Sheen is charismatic and engaging company, and that's despite the fact he can't wait to have a cigarette and even threatens to have a quick puff, before popping it into a glass of water.
The mere mention of Two And A Half Men is enough to induce (half- joking) grimaces. Sheen's not here to go over old ground, but to promote the second series of Anger Management, the TV series in which he stars as therapist Charles 'Charlie' Goodson.
"It's about anger and how to manage it, and my anger is never managed," says the actor, who was born in New York but grew up in California. "There's a door we have behind the set and there's a big hole that's been punched through it. That was me."
And the reason? "One day, I couldn't get my lines. I'm the angriest guy on the set and I play the therapist, which is awesome."
Since the show last aired, a few changes have been made, namely Selma Blair's character, Dr Kate Wales, is no more. The Hellboy actress was fired in the summer.
Sheen reportedly took unkindly to Blair's accusations that he had a bad work ethic and told bosses it was him or her. Blair was duly dropped and, if the rumours are correct, the actress is negotiating a settlement after threatening to file a law suit.
As someone who's been fired himself, does Sheen have any advice for his former co-star? "Don't do a weird tour of 21 cities in 32 days, it doesn't work," he jokes, in reference to the one-man show he embarked on following his dismissal from Two And A Half Men.
"No, my advice to her is quit acting," he quips, before adding: "No, my advice is good luck, you're going to need it."
He insists that he and his co-stars, including newcomer Brian Austin Green (former 90210 star and Megan Fox's husband) are "having a ball" on series two of Anger Management.
"It's a lot more believable than the other show," he muses. "And when I say the other show, that's Two And A Half Men. I like to use the title as seldom as possible."
The premise of Anger Management is loosely based on the 2003 movie of the same name starring Jack Nicholson, and was created by Bruce Helford, who used to write for the hit sitcom Roseanne.
"I think he's the sharpest brain in show business," says Sheen. Charlie Eighties Wall Street "He really saw a lot in me that he could put on paper to bring the character to life.
"Charlie's fun to play and it's fun to watch. Series two is a lot edgier, a lot more girls, a lot more drinking, that's pretty much where we're at right now."
Although born into the industry, as the youngest son of Hollywood veteran Martin Sheen and artist Janet Templeton, Sheen recalls feeling like an outsider as a teenager.
"I used to watch the whole Brat Pack (the Eighties group of actors in the classic that included his brother Emilio Estevez and their close friends Sean Penn and Rob Lowe) get free meals and the money and the girls. I thought, 'That looks like fun, let me in!' and they wouldn't let me in, so I found my own way."
Sheen's been married three times and has five children. His movie career began with the war drama Red Dawn starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, who he briefly appeared alongside in the iconic Ferris Bueller's Day Off in 1986.
That same year, he was cast in his first major role, in Oliver Stone's Vietnam War film Platoon, followed by the likes of Wall Street, which also starred his father, in 1987.
His dad makes a cameo appearance in Anger Management. "I get a lot of my humour from him, and my mom making fun of him," says Sheen.
"It's a trip doing scenes with him, because we understand each other's timing, shorthand and instinct."
Like his father, who played the President of the United States in The West Wing, Sheen will soon be making his 'presidential' debut too - in Machete Kills, directed by Sin City's Robert Rodriguez.
"I play a pretty interesting president," says the actor of his appearance in the violent movie.
"It's one day in the Oval Office and I sleep with three women, pull out a machine gun, drink, smoke and swear. I was thinking, 'Seven years (in The West Wing) and dad didn't do any of that!' But the film is amazing. Rodriguez is a freaking genius."
He isn't so forthcoming about another recent project, the stylised movie A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charlie Swan III, written and directed by the Oscar-nominated Roman (son of Francis Ford) Coppola. Sheen visibly cringes when it comes up in conversation.
"That was a mess. Sorry Roman, not to be more diplomatic, but if we're going to make a movie, at least make something that people are going to go see and not be stuck in that freaking vortex of art! If I want art, I'll go to the museum. Sorry, that's a little harsh, but I'm a bit mad."
Looking to the future, Sheen's keen to continue filming Anger Management and at some point make a "super-dramatic" movie - as well as focus on life off-screen.
"This is the coolest life you can imagine, but I don't want my whole life to be about my work. I want to be out being a father, and being a friend and a son and a brother and all that stuff, and leave something behind that isn't just about fiction," he says.
"I've always said that money can't buy you happiness... But you can sure as hell pay for the time of your life!" ? Anger Management begins on Comedy Central on Wednesday.
Machete Kills is in cinemas now.
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