The shenanigans of Charlie Sheen may have dominated the headlines for weeks in early 2011, but Chuck Lorre goes into detail with TV Guide Magazine this month and says the battle between Two and a Half Men and its leading man was "not a game."
"The [studio and the network] chose to make a moral decision as opposed to a financial one," Lorre says in his first wide-ranging interview on the topic. "This was drug addiction writ large. This was big-time cocaine, and in his own words, an 'epic drug run' that could have ended with either his death or someone else's."
Lorre also said he offered to quit the show during the height of the controversy.
Among other topics tackled by Lorre...
On bringing in Ashton Kutcher: "I thought, why not find out if we can do it? If we failed, what have we failed at? Making a sitcom? Then it became exciting. We got to do something none of us ever dreamed of doing: We got to end a series and start a new series in 20 minutes."
On crossing fiction with non-fiction: "To not deal with it felt like a cheat. The unbelievably public nature of this debacle is part of our legacy now. It happened, and the dividing line between Charlie Harper and Charlie Sheen is forever blurred."
On shutting down production: "I didn't want to be writing a sitcom while my friend died. Or worse, hurt someone else. We couldn't be complacent. There was a tragedy unfolding right in front of us. There was violence and blackouts. On a certain level, if you're looking the other way, you're responsible."
On his current attitude toward Sheen: "Bottom line, I hope he's happy, I hope he's healthy. I hope he's able to be there for his kids."