Charlie Sheen opens up to Matt Lauer on TODAY, talking not just about being “mellower” now than he was when he was spewing tiger blood, but also about how he really thought he’d go back to "Two and a Half Men" when the dust settled on his scandal.
"I thought when I was still doing my tour that there was a shot (at going back),” he told Lauer. Why was such a thing important to Sheen? It was about having some sense of closure on the show.
"Regardless of how I felt about some of the people, or how it went wrong, or why it went wrong, I still wanted to have some measure of closure with the show,” Sheen said. “That’s the part that really hurt the most, was not feeling like I could ever really finish it, just cut off, right in the middle."
At the time, Sheen says he was convinced the show couldn’t go on without him.
"I thought for sure that, 'oh they can’t do this without me,'" he told Lauer. "I mean come on, you know the show’s about this guy ... they create a show about a guy who was a partier, that guy starts partying and gets fired. It’s like, make up your minds, people."
Ashton Kutcher, of course, has replaced Sheen as the lead on "Men," which has its season premiere on Monday — the same night Sheen’s Comedy Central Roast airs.
And when it comes to all the antics and leaving that part of himself behind, Sheen appears to recognize the about face he is attempting to pull off.
"I think it's important that people see that I see and I feel that that was just one crazy chapter, one weird phase, and that I was this guy before it started and I can be that guy again afterwards, you know," he told Lauer.
And how does the one-time highest paid actor on television think his reputation held up?
"It's hard to say, I think if we surveyed the business side of things, people might still be wanting some proof that things are cool, but um, the fanfare that it created was pretty crazy and still exists to this day," Sheen said. "I still hear, you know, winning, and tiger blood and all that stuff as I'm walking down the street. I think the winning slogan was important though, because um, because it gave people a chance to just feel something different, to just feel victorious, whether it was real or imagined, you know."
Sheen felt sting of words in roast
Given the ways in which Sheen was openly mocked after his initial meltdown, you’d think the Comedy Central Roast would count as just another round in the celebrity smackdown. Not so, he tells Lauer.
"It was raunchy. I thought I'd heard everything twice. Clearly I hadn't," Sheen said. "Yeah, no, they said, prepare yourself, and I said it's just words. At the end of the day it's just words and I was sitting there, and it was not just words. They were very biting."
Much has been made of the fact that the special and season premiere of "Two and a Half Men" will broadcast on the same night (though not at the same time) and Sheen says that he’ll be among those turning in to the latter.
"Of course I will (watch 'Men')," Sheen told Lauer. "I'm also really curious about what happened to me. Because I don't look at it just as what they're doing forward, I look at it as what I left behind for them to continue, and how they're going to figure all that out. So really, my hat's off to them, if they can pull it off."
As for Sheen moving forward, he told Lauer that he’s working on a film project with Roman Coppola, as well as a television series loosely based on the film "Anger Management," though he says there is no setting or cast for the series yet.
But before Sheen finds himself back on a television screen, he wants fans to know one thing: he’s a guy you can rely on, despite the more recent past.
"I'm not going to let (the fans) down," he told Lauer. "I'm not going to let them down when they put down money for a ticket or if they turn to the channel that I'm on, that I'm going to continue to deliver the things that have kept them interested the past three decades."