July 3, 2012
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Charlie Sheen's lessons learned
By Jordan Riefe, Special to QMI Agency


Charlie Sheen (Reuters files)

Not since birth has anyone described Charlie Sheen as innocent.

So let the 46-year-old actor do it himself: "This whole thing is like a return to innocence for me," Sheen tells journalists assembled at a Beverly Hills hotel.

"I feel younger. I feel like I'm finally involved with something that is nourishing and not debilitating, not draining."

In other words, he feels exactly one and a half men lighter.

And who can blame him? His new series Anger Management - which premieres in the fall on CTV following an initial post-Olympics launch in August - smashed ratings records last week in the U.S. on FX.

"I've turned it around where I didn't get fired, I got traded," Sheen says of his tumultuous exit from Two and a Half Men in 2011.

What did he learn from his year of turmoil?

"Stick with what you know and don't take your dirty laundry public. Out of respect, keep that s--- under wraps."

And, instead of eviscerating his ex-colleagues, Sheen praises his former co-stars and Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre, comparing him to Rembrandt and Picasso.

This newfound spirit of goodwill extends to his personal life as well.

Sheen, who claims he is off drugs now, (but not alcohol), has populated the set of Anger Management with old friends and family including formerly estranged ex-wife, Denise Richards, who won a restraining order against him in 2006. And it's the new show, of course - not Two and a Half Men - that has Sheen doing the press rounds these days.

(Some matters are off-limits; he doesn't address, for example, the death of his former personal assistant, whose body was discovered this weekend, reportedly surrounded by prescription drugs and alcohol.)

The series is loosely based on the 2003 movie of the same name starring Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler.

Sheen plays Charlie Goodson, an ex-baseball player who, after an on-field tantrum, broke his own knee with a baseball bat. With his career effectively behind him, Goodson becomes an anger management counselor.

"My legacy could not be what happened at the end of Two and a Half," he says.

"When it went icky at the end, I couldn't have that be what everybody remembered. I wanted to do something that was more about me, who I was as a person, as an actor, and just something that felt more like a warm hug than a snake bite."

And Management unabashedly exploits Sheen's infamous past.

For one, there's the promo showing a fiery train wreck and Sheen walking away unscathed, saying, "Everybody deserves a 24th chance."

And in the premiere, a wild-eyed Sheen says, "You can't fire me - I quit. You think you can replace me with some other guy, go ahead, it won't be the same."

Laughing, Sheen admits, "I thought it was really smart we dealt with the thing about getting fired right off the bat, right into camera, boom, here it is ...

"It closed so many doors and opened some new ones."




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