Chuck Lorre on How He Got Angus T. Jones to Return to TV (Exclusive)

Chuck Lorre on How He Got Angus T. Jones to Return to TV (Exclusive)

Chuck Lorre had a full-circle moment on the set of his new series, Bookie.

The show stars Sebastian Maniscalco as Danny, a Los Angeles bookie who is struggling with the changing landscape of sports betting as online gambling explodes in popularity. 

Lorre reunited with Charlie Sheen on the project — years after the two had a very public falling out after Sheen was fired from Two and a Half Men. Sheen appears in the series as an exaggerated version of himself who runs a regular poker game at a rehab facility.

The reunion of the two even motivated Angus T. Jones — who played Sheen’s nephew on Two and a Half Men — to return to the small screen for a Bookie cameo.

Jones was just 10 years old when he was cast on the sitcom, and left the show after 10 seasons, stepping away from acting altogether.

“He was not necessarily going, ‘Oh boy. I’m going to act again!'” Lorre said of making the call to reunite with Jones on the project. “But he was game and he was great. He was great at eight and he was great at 28.”

In his Bookie cameo, Angus appears as one of the players in Sheen’s character’s poker game — a fun callback to Two and a Half Men, where Charlie corrupted his young nephew with his own high-stakes gambling.

“Almost 20 years to the day after we shot the pilot of Two and a Half Men, we shot that scene with the two guys playing poker,” Lorre revealed, “and the other guys at the table were in the pilot of Two and a Half Men as well.”

“It was an extraordinary day,” the writer and producer added, though he admitted he doesn’t think the cameo will motivate Jones to make a full-time return to acting.

“Conversations with Angus would lead me to say no, he’s done,” he shared. “He has other goals in mind.”

He did, however, praise the actor’s instincts, which remain sharp despite his time away.

“He is one of those few people you meet who, their instincts at the age of eight were uncannily correct,” he marveled. “It was in his DNA, you know? And it was there when we did that scene.”

Lorre expressed that if Bookie gets a second season, he’d also love to reunite onscreen with former collaborators Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher — who replaced Sheen on Two and a Half Men in 2011 for the last four seasons.

As for his reunion with Sheen, Lorre said he was “hopeful” when he reached out that working together would provide some needed closure for the two.

“He couldn’t have been more gracious and enthusiastic and generous about the whole thing,” he told ET. “We talked on the phone for probably and hour that first time, and I sent him the script.”

Lorre recalled that Sheen asked for a few “adjustments” to the initial storyline — with one major change being that he didn’t want to play an addict — which he happily made, and the reunion was officially on.

“The first time I saw him [was] before the table read for the first episode, which is nerve-wracking to begin with,” he shared. “It was just the most natural thing in the world. The two of us hugged… It was closure. It was healing. And it was a big weight off my heart.”

“And I don’t want to speak for Charlie, but I think he felt the same thing,” Lorre added. “It was a great opportunity for us to bury that darkness, and have fun.”

Lorre co-wrote and produced Bookie with Nick Bakay, a former ESPN analyst who helped Lorre understand the complicated ins and outs of the sports betting world, which the producer noted “requires a tremendous amount of knowledge and research.”

“For me, [Bookie] is about a couple of guys trying to scratch out a living in a world where technology is threatening to take away their living with legalized gambling sweeping the country and blessed by all the major sports,” he shared. “The small-time bookie is a threatened species — a dinosaur looking up at a meteor coming down.”

Bookie premieres Nov. 30 on Max. 


Source link