Leave it to Charlie Sheen to turn an addiction into an obsession.
The actor’s drug-addled shenanigans made headlines in 2010, so when Sheen was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center complaining of “severe abdominal pains” on January 27, 2011, it looked like one more step toward a total meltdown. The next day, production halted on his hit CBS show, “Two and a Half Men,” as its 45-year-old star entered rehab.
Except this time, TV’s highest paid actor wouldn’t go meekly through that rehab revolving door. Angered by the delayed production, he hurled choice insults at producer Chuck Lorre. The stunt got him suspended and, ultimately, fired from the show.
Then came the stuff of tabloid legend (or a fascinating cable-only sitcom).
Open season on his producer
Sheen declared open season on Lorre, uploading erratic online rants and filing a $100 million wrongful dismissal suit. He invited media into his home, the Sober Valley Lodge, where he lived with his “goddesses,” porn star Bree Olson and former nanny Natalie Kenly. He dismissed the worries of his famous father, Martin Sheen (who said “This disease of addiction is a form of cancer“) as “bollocks.”
He plunged into the media circus, throwing out lines with the high-speed patter of an infomercial pitchman: “I am on a drug — it’s called Charlie Sheen,” he told “20/20.” “It, uh, it’s not available, because if you try it once you will die. Your face would melt off and your children would melt over your exploded body. Too much?”
Then things took a turn for the (even) weirder. Estranged wife Brooke Mueller filed an emergency restraining order in March. The move prompted Sheen to utter one of his many famous new catchphrases: “winning.” That, plus “tiger blood,” “Adonis DNA,” and “warlock” would enter the public lexicon — and break a Guinness World Record when Charlie’s Twitter feed reached one million followers in just over 25 hours.
Torpedo of truth
With material like that, the next logical (in the Sheen universe) destination was standup. On April 2, the Emmy-nominated actor launched his Torpedo of Truth tour, earning more jeers than cheers.
Thus began Sheen’s “torpedo of damage control” tour. The actor publicity apologized, settled his lawsuit, and even reconciled with his estranged ex-wife, who was by his side when Comedy Central roasted the actor in its highest-rated special ever. The special also reunited son and dad in the teaser spoof, “Charpocolypse Now.”
Sheen confirmed a return to the big screen in the title role for “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charlie Swan III,” directed by Roman Coppola (son of Francis Ford Coppola), about an irresistible graphic designer whose life goes into a downward spiral. Meta is not new for Sheen, who played himself in “Being John Malkovich,” as Malkovich’s best pal. FX picked up his new show, “Anger Management,” for a summer 2012 start. And Sheen profited from his Halloween popularity. Looks like a winning-winning situation.
Jordana Divon is a blogger with Yahoo! Canada’s The Daily Brew. Vera H-C Chan is the global editorial lead for Yahoo! Year in Review, which covers 16 countries. Canadians and Americans alike are still trying to figure out Charlie Sheen.