— In an interview with NBC’s Jeff Rossen that aired on TODAY Monday morning, Charlie Sheen, the combative star of long-running hit “Two and a Half Men,” demanded a raise from approximately $2 million to $3 million per episode to come back to the set of the show. CBS and Warner Bros. Television have currently halted production for the show’s ninth season in the wake of Sheen’s very public rants against “Men” creator Chuck Lorre and Alcoholics Anonymous.
“I’m not angry, I’m passionate,” Sheen told Rossen. “It’s everybody thinks I should be begging for my job back, and I’m just going to forewarn them that it’s everybody else that’s going to be begging me for their job back.”
Though he claimed he has been swamped with offers for movies, Sheen said: “I am a man of my word, so I will finish the TV show. I’ll even do season 10, but at this point, [because of] psychological distress, oh, my God, it’s 3 mil an episode.”
Reportedly the highest-paid actor on television, Sheen has been hospitalized three times in three months. Production of “Two and a Half Men” was put on hold last month after Sheen’s most recent hospital stay. Taping was to resume Tuesday, but that plan was put on hold last Thursday after Sheen inveighed against Lorre, CBS and A.A. on a call-in radio program.
In the interview with Rossen, which was taped Sunday in Sheen’s Beverly Hills home, the actor accused Lorre of “trying to destroy my family.” He also again took aim at Alcoholics Anonymous, calling it a failed system developed by a “broken-down fool that was a plagiarist.” He claimed he has conquered his own drug and alcohol problems by the sheer force of his will: “I closed my eyes and made it so.”
After checking himself out of rehab, Sheen set up his own home rehab facility called “Sober Valley Lodge,” from which the principles of A.A. had been banned. “I will not believe that if I do something then I have to follow a certain path, because it was written nice,” he said. “It was written for normal people, people that aren’t special. People that don’t have tiger blood, you know, Adonis DNA.”
Related: Sheen: ‘I don’t know where my children are’
He dismissed the idea that he has anything in common with addicts and alcoholics, who he says lack his strength of character, describing them as “fools, trolls. Weak. Defeated. They allowed defeat to be an option. I will not.
“I’m tired of pretending like I’m not special,” Sheen continued. “I’m tired of pretending like I’m not bitching, a total fricking rock star from Mars, and people can’t figure me out; they can’t process me. I don’t expect them to. You can’t process me with a normal brain.”
Sheen insisted that the drug- and alcohol-fueled behavior he described as “epic” never interfered with his work on “Men,” and that despite all the headlines, all his bosses saw when he showed up on the set was “a guy hitting every mark, nailing every line, every joke, with a full house screaming.” He claimed he never missed a day’s shooting: “Not a day that cost anybody any money,” he said. “I missed practice. We’re talking about practice ... practice is for amateurs, you know?”
The actor also insisted that he has no fears about his children someday reading the lurid headlines about him. “Talk about an education,” Sheen said. “That’s the guy, and he’s our dad, and we can get all the answers and the truth? Wow, winning. That’s how you perceive it.”
War with a warlock
Regarding his demand for a 50 percent pay hike, Sheen declared, “Take or leave it.” He added caustically: “Look what they put me through ... I’m underpaid right now, sure ... When you look at the money they’re making, it’s ridiculous.”
Sheen accused his producers, Lorre in particular, of trying to destroy him and his family by “trying to take all my money, and leave me with no means to support my family. It’s not rocket science, you know?”
He was now “at war” he said. “They picked a fight with a warlock,” he said — a war he plans to win “with zeal and focus, violent hatred ... You either love or you hate. You live in the middle, you get nothing.”
According to the New York Post Monday, that war may also include a $320 million lawsuit that Sheen plans to file against CBS, Warner Bros. and Lorre for “mental anguish.” It has also included several calls to radio programs to vent, one of which included remarks about Lorre that have been described as anti-Semitic, a charge Sheen adamantly denied.
The actor defended his sometimes bellicose verbal attacks. “I think my passion is misinterpreted as anger sometimes. And I don’t think people are ready for the message that I’m delivering, and delivering with a sense of violent love,” Sheen said.
Rather than apologizing, Sheen said it was he who was owed an apology, by CBS: “A big one. While licking my feet.”