Hugh Grant was offered a whopping amount to star on ‘Two and a Half Men’ but he rejected the offer. What could be the reason behind it?
‘Two and a Half Men‘ released in 2003 and opened with bombastic reviews, quickly becoming one of the most-watched sitcoms of the 2000s. But the glory days of the sitcom didn’t last very long and, season by season, the reviews became less kind. By the 8th season, the audience had had enough, after Charlie Sheen left the show. But despite most critics plainly rejecting the sitcom, its loyal fan-base was reason enough for the makers to stretch it until the 12th season, and the show ended its long run with the 262nd episode which was aired in February 2015. But in the day and time when even a “universally acclaimed” sitcom like ‘FRIENDS’ ended its run after 10 seasons, what made ‘Two and a Half Men’ go on?
- ‘Two and a Half Men’ review
- Why the show-runners approached Hugh Grant for the show
- Why did Hugh Grant turn down an offer to star in ‘Two and a Half Men’
‘Two and a Half Men’ began with Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer portraying the Harper brothers, Charlie and Alan respectively. Charlie is a rich advertisement jingle writer and Alan works as a chiropractor. Following a bitter divorce, Alan enters Charlie’s house, along with his young son Jake. The series mostly revolves around the antics of these three, along with many other characters such as Charlie’s sharp-tongued maid and Alan’s former wife. Leading a hedonistic lifestyle, Charlie is a materialistic man who indulges in a lot of sexual relationships and bullies his brother and his nephew.
The show was known initially for the crass misogynistic comedy, double-meaning dialogues, and some suggestive scenes. Needless to say, the series found a huge base of audience among the young adults and the series, over time, became an international hit. While the critics also admitted that the comedy was un-tasteful and crass at times, the show did have some genuinely funny moments, which kept the show afloat, and Charlie Sheen!
Why was Charlie Sheen fired from the show?
Charlie Sheen’s performance as Charlie Harper was the biggest selling point of the sitcom. But Charlie’s off-camera life was not as good as it was in the show. He had become hooked to drugs and was increasingly becoming a problematic man to handle as it required discipline from the actors’ part to meet the production deadlines. Charlie went on records and bad-mouthed Chuck Lorre, the creator of the show. The producers had enough and Charlie was officially let go from the show after the 8th season of ‘Two and a Half Men’, and thus the show’s glory days ended.
From the 9th season onwards, Ashton Kutcher was brought in to fill in Charlie’s shoes, with a specific new character written for him, but the enthusiasm with which his arrival as a cast-member was announced, died down when the response poured in, which led the show’s ratings to embark on a downward decline.
Could Hugh Grant have saved ‘Two and a Half Men’?
A few years later, it was revealed that Hugh Grant was the star the makers at CBS banked on to replace Charlie as the show’s main attraction, to play Walden Schmidt, the role which eventually went to Ashton. In a 2016 interview given to ‘The Howard Stern Show’, Hugh claimed that while he loved watching the series, he was offered the new role without a script. He did not know what character he was being offered to play and what importance the role will hold. He had to turn down the offer.
And wait until you hear how much was he offered per episode!
1 million dollars per episode!
Yes, you heard that right. The makers were desperate to keep the fans glued to the show and offering Hugh $1 million was an attempt to keep the show afloat. But Hugh’s artistic integrity had the last laugh and he turned down the offer to star in ‘Two and a Half Men’. When he was later asked whether he regretted rejecting the show, he denied that.
The show completed 12 seasons and seemed overstretched towards the final few seasons. They had to bring Charlie’s character back into the final season, to redeem the show’s lost glory to some extent. But by then it was too late.
Tell us in comments whether you think the show’s fate would have been different if Hugh Grant had decided to associate himself with the sitcom. Or the writing turning stale was the actual reason behind the show’s declining popularity in the later seasons!