Who’s crying now
Jon Cryer has adapted to his new household without Charlie Sheen, write Neala Johnson and Darren Devlyn
IN a 2005 interview on the set of Two and a Half Men, Jon Cryer offered a rapid-fire response to a question about the atmosphere on the sitcom. ‘‘ There are very few situations when you get lucky in every way, you know, because usually there’s a jerk somewhere,’’ Cryer said.
‘‘ Either your producer is a jerk or somebody at the network is a jerk or somebody in the cast is a jerk or that third guy on the left is a jerk, but we’ve been very lucky.’’
Two years later, when both were going through relationship turmoil, it remained clear Cryer and star Charlie Sheen had each other’s backing when it came to dealing with their respective troubles.
‘‘ Charlie is amazing to watch and is always professional, always, but especially in times of crisis. Thankfully a good script can get everybody through awkward moments.’’
Cryer, who plays Alan Harper in the sitcom, was to discover in the worst possible way that a good script was ultimately nowhere near enough to save Sheen from an ugly exit from the show.
But two years on from ‘‘ what we will henceforward refer to as the craziness’’, he speaks optimistically about how he and the show have recovered from Sheen’s sacking and speaks fondly of the man who filled the void, Ashton Kutcher.
If Cryer is bitter Sheen’s very public meltdown put the show and his livelihood in jeopardy, or that Sheen stomped all over their eight-year working friendship, he’s not showing it. Does Cryer miss Sheen? ‘‘ Of course. I wish him well. But at the same time, I don’t think he handled himself well,’’ Cryer says, ‘‘ and I wish it had been different, you know’’.
And while Sheen was slinging barbs at the show, did Cryer stick his head under covers and hope he didn’t get hit?
‘‘ No, I wouldn’t put it that way. We all dealt with it as best we could. Like I said, I don’t believe they had any choice on the show but to do what they did. But I can tell you straight up, nobody wanted to go there, nobody was happy that they had to do it, but I think everybody understood why they had to do it.’’
Cryer has said the show’s hiatus, enforced by producer Chuck Lorre, ‘‘ felt like the end of the world for some people’’. But after 30 years in the business, he doesn’t count himself as some people. ‘‘ You know, the kind of run that I had on Two and a Half Men before the new version was still way more than an actor has the right to expect.’’
The arrival of Kutcher on set seemed just as sudden. Cryer compares it to being in a ‘‘ foxhole’’ — ‘‘ You’re very quick friends,’’ he says. ‘‘ When it’s do or die, you just have to do it. Working with Ashton, we were able to focus on each other and pull each other through.’’
The odd couple— Cryer is 47 and so good at playing awkward and square that people now just assume that’s what he is; Kutcher is 35 and all kinds of cool — bonded via their inner geeks.
‘‘ Obviously he’s a hi-tech entrepreneur and I’m a computer nerd, so we have that symbiotic relationship,’’ Cryer says. ‘‘ It’s very funny now that he’s on the show, everybody assumes that because he’s involved in a hi-tech enterprise that he knows how to fix computers.
‘‘ He is the first person to say, ‘ I don’t know how to fix your computer. I invested in Skype, it’s different! I can’t fix your email!’
‘‘ Also, we both really love doing sitcoms. He really missed it, he did That ’70s Show for a long time here and he’s been working without an audience for a while.’’
The ‘‘ Half’’ of the show’s title, Angus T Jones, caused his own stir when he launched a tirade at the sitcom and urged viewers not to watch it.
CBS President Nina Tassler says Jones has apologised to the cast and crew for his comments, saying he meant no disrespect.
‘‘ He apologised and we’ve moved on,’’ Tassler says.
‘‘ The kid is 19. I’ve got a 24-year-old. Between the ages of 19 and 24, there’s been plenty of things my kid has said that I wish he hadn’t. The bottom line is cooler heads prevailed.’’ Two and a Half Men, Channel 9, Tuesday, 9.30pm
On set: Jon
Cryer and (inset) Cryer,
Ashton Kutcher and Angus T Jones.