While putting together the pilot episodes for their new comedy Bookie, Chuck Laurie show creators Nick Buckeye decided it would be fun to cast a real Hollywood star to play the inveterate gambler.
The plot of Bookie revolves around a sports bookie, played by comedian Sebastian Maniscalco, who over the course of the episodes encounters celebrities addicted to the mosquito.
When writing the drafts of the script, Laurie couldn’t shake the thought that he knew the perfect person to guest star on the series.
“That’s got to be Charlie (Sheen). I remember him loving sports betting and telling me all sorts of stories about it. Most of them were good,” Laurie told Variety in an interview.
Lori’s idea to invite Charlie Sheen to her new project, however, comes with a lot of baggage.
The two haven’t spoken in more than a decade since their public spat in 2011, when Sheen left the sitcom Two and a Half Men.
Uncle Charlie then went on a series of rants attacking his former boss (Chuck Laurie), calling him “stupid,” “little worm,” and more veiled anti-Semitic slurs that we won’t publish here.
Given their history, Buckeye is very surprised that Laurie wants to invite Charlie Sheen to Bookie.
“It was a bolt from the blue. You never know when Chuck is going to say something that’s going to scare you. But I also know him well and I know how important it is to him to get below the waterline of that iceberg. I knew that was the only way he could turn the page and start clean,” says Buckey.
The media feud with Charlie Sheen has long haunted Laurie and prevented him from enjoying their work together in the hit Two and a Half Men. The producer said it was “too painful” for him to watch the episodes.
But more than a decade after their stormy relationship, Laurie claims to have forgotten the bad and only remembers the good times from Two and a Half Men.
“I loved working with Charlie. We did 170 episodes (of ‘Two and a Half Men’) together before it all fell apart. We had a good time most of the time. I believed that both he and I had put the past behind us,” says the producer .
Lori eventually works up the courage to call Sheen.
“I was nervous, but as soon as we started talking, I remembered that we were friends. And our friendship was rekindled. I don’t want to be too boring, but that conversation was healing for us. He (Charlie Sheen) started to was making fun of himself. When he came to read (Bookie’s) script, he came over to the table and we hugged,” Laurie said.
From the original script, which the tandem Laurie-Bakei presented to the actor, the star had only one remark – his character was placed in a rehabilitation center for the treatment of addictions.
“Can we not introduce the addicted Charlie anymore,” Sheen asked, and the two writers agreed to change the scene.
“Charlie is a really, really good actor. He was playing a version of himself with shadows from the past and problems, and he pulled it off,” Laurie says.
In Bookie, Sheen will appear in two episodes – in the pilot, when the bookie, played by Maniscalco, visits him in his hotel room. And in another episode of the first season, when Charlie Sheen gives marriage advice to the bookie.
The sitcom is set to premiere on November 30 on the HBO Max platform, and we can’t wait to see one of the most iconic collaborations back on the small screen.