There was a time when ‘Two and a Half Men’ was a darling of TV ratings and a growing rage. Created by Chuck Lorre and Lee Aronsohn, the sitcom that starred Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer as polar opposite brothers, Charlie and Alan, had a hilarious 12 season run.
But would you believe that there was a time when Hollywood giant Hugh Grant was eyed for the lead role in Two and a Half Men? In the first eight seasons that starred Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, and Angus T. Jones, the plot revolved around two brothers – a Casanova jingle writer (Charlie Harper), his nerdy brother (Alan). Alan’s son, Jake, was also part of the household. After Alan’s divorce, both he and his son Jake moved into Charlie’s Malibu house and introduced complications to Charlie’s otherwise freewheeling life.
- How did Hugh Grant come into the picture?
- Why did Hugh Grant turn down the offer?
- Does Hugh Grant regret turning down Two and a Half Men?
How did Hugh Grant come into the picture?
The show went into trouble after Charlie Sheen quit it abruptly to go into drug rehabilitation. Due to this sudden development, CBS network went on a serious hunt for an actor that could replace Sheen and do justice to his role.
Before Sheen was replaced with Ashton Kutcher, the producers approached several other A-listers in Hollywood including Hugh Grant. In fact, Hugh Grant was even offered $1 million per episode to take Charlie Sheen’s spot on the show.
Why did Hugh Grant turn down the offer?
According to Hugh Grant, he decided to not accept it as the makers did not provide him with scripts for the new episodes and he was not comfortable signing up for something without reading the script.
“They talked to me about it, but the problem was they didn’t have a script or a new character, they just said, ‘Trust us, we’ll create one’”
Grant confessed on ‘The Howard Stern Show’.
The sitcom hadn’t yet produced the scripts for its new episodes, and Grant didn’t want to commit to it without checking what the show’s writers had in mind for the future of the series. A couple of weeks after sorting out the Sheen lawsuit fallout, the showrunners blessed the plan and Grant was approached by the producers at Warner Bros.
Hugh even flew in and had 2 creative meetings with the makers. As things were taking shape, Grant was on the verge of having a completed deal but chose to back out before that unexpectedly.
An insider told the portal that money wasn’t the reason. Grant didn’t want to do TV because those 24 episodes were a lot of work and that he couldn’t get his head around doing a series. Nevertheless, it would have still been a downgrade for the actor as Charlie Sheen was paid $1.8 million per episode.
While there are multiple reports suggesting that Grant turned down the offer, there are also a few that hint at Chuck Lorre’s hesitation to cast Grant as Sheen’s replacement. According to the leading entertainment portal “Deadline”, Chuck Lorre’s close sources revealed that Lorre only wanted to continue the show “if he can find the right actor and get excited about that”.
Does Hugh Grant regret turning down the show?
Ultimately, Ashton Kutcher stepped in to fill the void and the Golden Globe winner actor confessed that he continued watching the series, even after he’d passed on the part. When asked whether he regretted the decision, Grant revealed that he couldn’t decide whether or not the character would have been a fit.
“I did (watch). It was still a very good show, but what they created for Ashton Kutcher was clearly something completely different than what they would have created for me. So, it’s hard to judge”
However, he confirmed that there is one thing he may wish he hadn’t missed out on: ‘Two and a Half Men’s’ hefty paycheck. Calling it “stratospheric” Grant admitted that back then he had no idea how much TV was worth in the country.
Do you think you would’ve liked Hugh Grant in the role? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.