Charlie Sheen: Charlie's Devils
"I want to piss everybody off!" claims Charlie Sheen. And in this interview, he tries his best, trashing everyone from Tom Cruise, Julie Roberts, Keanu Reeves, Marisa Tomei and Brad Pitt to Sean Young, Leonardo DiCaprio, Nastassja Kinski, Stephen Dorff and Kristy Swanson. Oh, and LeVar Burton.
Do I use condoms? Is that the question?" Charlie Sheen asks, laughing.
"Absolutely! In fact, I'm wearing one right now." The 29-year-old Sheen utters this pronouncement while we're hanging out between shots for his new $40-million Disney flick, Terminal Velocity, in which he and co-star Nastassja Kinski fall out of planes, dodge spies and bullets, and find time to kiss. Having established where one of Hollywood's busiest bachelors stands on the matter of protection. I move on to ask him why he thinks an actor should never poke the doll with whom he shares the billing.
Sprawled on the leather seat of his bus-size trailer, Sheen kicks back with a Corona before replying, "Never sleep with your co-sitar if you really want to be sexy together in a movie, because fucking offscreen can dissipate the energy on-screen, you know? And never sleep with your co-star if her pussy smells like her butthole." When he sees my jaw drop in response to this pearl of wisdom. Sheen backtracks a little by saying, "And ... I can't think of more reasons, maybe because I've been making so many movies with other guys.
"But no way anything went on with Kristy Swanson on The Chase." he claims, a moment later. "I mean, if ever a thought went through that airhead of hers, it would perish from loneliness. I haven't fucked Nastassja Kinski either, but she fucking turns me on, man. She has a reputation for being difficult and there've been times on this movie when I felt I was the only guy holding it together with her. If I broke down, we would have lost her completely."
Not minutes before telling me this, Sheen, who makes $6 million for movies I mostly don't want to see, had vowed he did not want to handle this Movieline interview the way he handled his previous Movieline interview [August 1990]. What, no spilling the beans on such escapades as a youthful four-day crime spree? A credit card scam? A supposed accident involving a loaded gun with his then-girlfriend? No unfurling of one of his famous poems, such as a poisonous ode to the press? Why ever not? "Because I thought I was an asshole in that interview," he confesses. "It was during that whole crazy period when I was feeling very much like being an outlaw. Or maintaining the image of an outlaw. Which can be interesting and fun, but not real productive. I was just talking about all kinds of shit, you know? Now, the press wants to maintain that outlaw image."
Taking another belt of brew, Sheen now makes another attempt at demonstrating how he can observe the appropriate proprieties if he wants to. He touts Terminal Velocity as a movie with "Hitchcockian flair," and says it's no "boys' toy, action movie, but something that's performance-driven." Just about the time he says, "You watch--this movie will survive a long time," he notices my eyeballs drifting to the back of my head.
"Hey, you know, Stephen," he says, grinning, dropping the act, "if it turns out to be crap, hey, we gave it a shot." He mentions that the flick's advertising slogan will probably be, "How fast can you fall?" which strikes me as a key question in his career. After all, he made an early splash with attention-getting performances in such Oliver Stone movies as Platoon and Wall Street, and appeared in distinguished, if less successful, fare like John Sayles's Eight Men Out. But, having spent the past six years slogging through the likes of Never On a Tuesday, Courage Mountain, Navy SEALS, Men at Work, Cadence, The Three Musketeers -- and yes, some hits, too, like Young Guns, Major League and Hot Shots!--Sheen should know precisely how fast one can fall.
If I don't want to sit through his films, why do I want to interview Sheen? Because the guy is no less photogenic or talented than a dozen others we could name who garner more hype. And because he strikes me as someone who never gives a dull interview. I think of him as the son of the badass Martin Sheen of Badlands and Apocalypse Now while his brother Emilio Estevez is the son of the beatific Martin Sheen of Gandhi and TV movies about the Kennedys. Beyond that, I'm curious about why Charlie seems to coast in his career instead of kick ass. Recently, and rather mysteriously, he dropped out of co-starring with Craig Sheffer in Wings of Courage, a big-screen IMAX adventure movie directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. I recall, too, that he passed on White Men Can't Jump, Indecent Proposal and The Cowboy Way, making him largely culpable for Woody Harrelson's movie career. But the tendency goes further back. When Brandon Tartikoff ran Paramount, he put out the word that he saw Sheen for the role Tom Cruise would eventually grab in The Firm; earlier, Cruise took the role in Born on the Fourth of July for which Oliver Stone initially wanted Sheen.
So, what's going on with him? Is he doing an Elvis, trashing himself in movies for the big bucks? Did his well-publicized reputation for once being boozy and mouthy catch up with him, making big-time directors and actors stay clear? It has been quite a while since Sheen worked with a major director or opposite megastars. In other words, never mind Nastassja Kinski, where are Sheen's screen pairings with Bridget Fonda? Julia Roberts? Meg Ryan? Marisa Tomei?
"I'd like to jam Bridget Fonda," he drawls. "She's sexy. Really sexy. I think we would be good together. Meg Ryan and I should do a movie, because, if you combine the grosses of the movies that she and I have turned down, it's like eight billion dollars. Someone who's a real hammer is Polly Walker, who killed me in Patriot Games. Then, she got married and pregnant. Jeesh. Marisa Tomei? Every year at the Oscars, there's one that slips by. When she won against those incredible actresses, I went, 'What the fuck? Did we all see the same fucking movie?'
"I had a couple of dinners with Julia [Roberts] before I left for Vienna to do The Three Musketeers," Sheen says when I ask him about the prospect of working with her. "We got along pretty good. She's a pretty bright lady, a lot of energy. Inside of five minutes, she's asking me what kind of interests I have, hobbies, and as I got to each of them, she tells me, 'I don't eat red meat,' 'I don't like baseball,' 'I don't like muscle cars,' 'I don't like guns.' And I'm looking at her and ... well, I mean, I like Kiefer [Sutherland] and I'm thinking, 'Should I call him for tips?' But then, I'm also thinking that I'm gonna go off and do this movie with him in a couple of weeks. And if something went down between her and me, I wouldn't want to have to lie to him, you know? I'm not saying that I could have done anything with her, but who knows? I mean, she was shutting down 'The Machine,' which is the nickname my friends gave me, 'cause I go, like, all night, whatever I'm doing. But Julia was shooting me down pretty hard. Which happens. But rarely."
And what if Sheen learned that a movie he really wanted paired him again with Sean Young, whom he dissed in print after they made Wall Street together?
"How much are they paying me?" he asks, chortling. "Actually, we kissed and made up at Planet Hollywood in Phoenix. I saw her and said, 'We should bury the hatchet. I wanna apologize for all the bullshit I said about you in the past.' I patted her on her back and she turned around, being funny, to see if I stuck any signs on her back or anything, and said, 'Will you sign my autograph book?' So I signed it. She's out of her fucking tree, but I bet she's a great jam, though. Just a little out of control."