Charlie Sheen is at it again.
The star of FX’s Anger Management has missed several days of work in recent weeks, according to sources. The absences have forced the show’s studio, Lionsgate, to push production beyond what was planned and to use stand-ins for the actor in certain scenes. The moves are said to have angered many of Sheen’s fellow castmembers. One source says the Anger cast is threatening to stop working if the absences persist.
A Lionsgate spokesperson declined to comment on the situation. Sheen’s publicist, Jeff Ballard, denies that the show has used stand-ins or shot around the actor. “We did not shoot last week because another member of the cast was sick,” the rep tells THR. “Charlie is always ready, willing and able to shoot Anger Management and looks forward to returning on Monday.”
Lionsgate and FX made waves in 2012 by greenlighting Anger Management on the 10/90 model, where 10 episodes of a series are tested and then expanded to 100 episodes if they meet a certain ratings threshold. Sheen had struggled with substance abuse and famously was fired from his former hit sitcom Two and a Half Men, leading some to wonder whether he could be counted on to perform in 100 episodes of television. Anger now is about two-thirds of the way through its 100-episode order, with shooting scheduled to finish this fall. The current delays are not expected to push the overall end date.
Sources say Sheen has performed as usual when he is on-set but several people associated with Anger Management speak of his erratic behavior of late. His odd appearance on Jay Leno’s final week of The Tonight Show in February had some questioning the newly engaged actor’s state. He is said to have had recent health issues, including a vocal cord problem, which is said to have contributed to his absences.
In January, Sheen took to Twitter to blast his Two and a Half Men successor Ashton Kutcher with a tweet that included: “Now quit barfing on my old brilliant show. Remember Punk’ed? How duz it feel?” (It is worth noting that Sheen was urging his 10 million-plus followers to watch Anger earlier this week.)
This is not the first speed bump for Anger, which found itself in the news last spring when actress Selma Blair, who had played Sheen’s love interest, was dismissed from the show by Sheen via a strongly worded text in which he is said to have called her a “c—.” The two were believed to have had a falling-out after Blair questioned his work ethic on the half-hour comedy, which requires a grueling schedule of producing two episodes per week.
That Sheen has made it this far into the production cycle might come as a surprise to many who watched him implode following his Two and a Half Men ouster in early 2011. The actor was forced out after a series of public attacks on Men creator Chuck Lorre and his bosses at CBS and Warner Bros. TV. He followed up with his infamous comedy tour, which was titled “My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option,” as well as a series of online rants that included catchphrases such as “#winning” and “tiger blood.” Sheen objected to his firing and later included Lorre as a defendant in a $100 million lawsuit, which was settled.
There is much riding on Sheen’s continued involvement in Anger, which is poised to generate between $350 million to $500 million in revenue if it completes its 100 episode order. If it ends up running for 150 episodes, that range could grow to as much as $800 million, say sources, once network license fees, international sales and syndication revenue are included. (The series, thanks to the global recognition of Sheen, is expected to generate close to $1 million an episode overseas.)
Though the series’ ratings are but a fraction of its numbers when it launched, the show has been relatively steady in recent months, with a boost this week from FX’s new 10/90 addition, Saint George, starring George Lopez.
Email: Matthew.Belloni@thr.com, Borys.Kit@thr.com
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