Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
FX‘s presentation for TCA, hyping his new long-run comedy Anger Management and looking appropriately ready for the weekend in shorts, sockless black shoes and button shirt. He said that what he’s doing now is more fun than being loaded and fighting with Chuck Lorre, and that it’s great to be back living life and working again. When asked how his life is different now, his costar Selma Blair took that as her cue to place his hand on her belly and say, “We have an announcement.” Recovering from that, Sheen said, “It was a crazy time, like a crazy dream, a runaway train I couldn’t get off of. I learned a lot from that time.” What did he learn? “Don’t go on the road for 31 days in 23 cities with no act.” But ultimately, Sheen understands that chaos may simply be his fate. “I can wish every minute for a very simple life … But I don’t look at what (happens in my life) as chaos but challenges,” he stresses. “Things have to be dealt with in the moment. My interpretation of fun is not always the right choice.”
Personal issues aside, Sheen said he’s having a great time on Anger Management, so much so that he’s looking forward to getting renewed for the back 90. “I feel like we’ve just scratched the surface, barely” in terms of material, he said. Not that it’s easy. Showrunner Bruce Helford admitted that the show’s accelerated production schedule allows no time for rehearsal, but said all the performers got into their characters quickly. “It’s a whole different animal,” Sheen admitted. “There’s no time to overthink it. Sometimes that’s OK, sometimes it isn’t.” But what’s really been energizing for Sheen, Helford suggested, is that he has the voice on Anger Management that he completely lacked on Two And A Half Men. “He didn’t really have a voice on that show or much creative input,” Helford said. “The way I’ve always worked is, we’re all truly partners, we hold hands, we share responsibility and blame for all things. We’re in this together. We think that Charlie;’s gotten his creative juices flowing and looks forward to going to work, as we all do. To have a say in what you’re doing and control of your destiny makes all the difference. This is a very freeing experience. FX truly understands how to work with talent.”
At the same time, Helford maintained that it’s a tough grind producing television this way. “It isn’t easier for anybody, the writers or the actors,” he said. “It’s more of a gut experience, but at the same time a more natural and spontaneous experience.”