Jon Cryer's memoir So That Happened was released this week, and we read it so you don't have to. (But if you have some time, you should read it because it's wry, witty, engaging and incredibly self-deprecating.)
The book covers the actor's theater roots and 30-year career in showbiz, from his big break in Pretty in Pink to being labeled a "show killer" pre-Two and a Half Men to (duh) Charlie Sheen. The majority of Cryer's account of Sheen's meltdown was released in an excerpt last month, complete with porn and prostitute tales, but here are some other juicy tidbits about his former co-star and beyond.
1. Two men and a porn star: Cryer and Sheen first met in the '80s when they auditioned for a movie that never got made. They reconnected on 1991's Hot Shots!, during which it became "clear that our star was deeply invested in partying, and made no apologies about it ... but his extracurricular fun never seemed to affect his work." During this time, Sheen was dating porn star Ginger Lynn, whom Cryer describes as "polite and sweet and kind of regular-gal boring, to be honest."
2. Martin Sheen FTW: Due to movie commitments, Cryer was unable to make it to Sheen's wedding to Brooke Mueller in 2008. His wife, Lisa, attended and when it came time for Martin Sheen's speech, the whole room braced for oratorical brilliance from the erstwhile President Bartlet. Instead, he just said, "Hope you kids know what you're doing," and sat back down.
3. Charlie Sheen texts exactly like you think he does: This is the last text he sent Cryer before he was fired from Two and a Half Men in March 2011:
oh but dear man,
most of it is all an act,
I have a much bigger plan
that will benefit us all...
4. Sheen blames it on the testosterone: In June 2014, Cryer went to Sheen's house after his ex-manager told him that Sheen wanted to apologize. When Cryer asked him where all the anger came from, Sheen said testosterone cream. "Three times a day you rub the cream on your thighs, and it's deceptive, because you feel the same, but suddenly you're flying into a rage," he said.
5. Hugh Grant was a Two and a Half Men star for two hours and 15 minutes: The Brit was Chuck Lorre's first choice to replace Sheen, and met with producers and Cryer. Grant didn't seem particularly eager to do the show, according to Cryer, but Lorre texted Cryer a few days later that Grant was in, and the deal was made by 9 a.m. At 11:15 a.m., Lorre called Cryer to tell him that Grant was now out. "The deal was done, but he changed his mind," he said.
6. Sloppy seconds: Cryer briefly dated Demi Moore while they were making the 1984 film No Small Affair, which he dubs his "inaugural Hollywood romance." He was heartbroken when he went to her house one night only to be told by her housekeeper that Moore was "out with her boyfriend." Twenty-seven years later, Cryer debated whether to mention it to Ashton Kutcher when they met to discuss him joining Two and a Half Men. As Kutcher was leaving, he told Cryer: "Oh, man, I just want to say, Demi told me you guys use to date. Totally cool. Don't feel weird about it." (Lest we forget, Moore was also once engaged to fellow Brat Packer and Sheen's brother Emilio Estevez.)
7. What the frak? In the spring of 2003, Cryer had to choose between two pilots: Two and a Half Men and Battlestar Galactica, where he would've played Gaius Baltar. He picked the former because its "neurosis-based comedy" was more in his wheelhouse, and to stay close to his 3-year-old son since his first marriage was on the rocks (BSG shot in Vancouver). CBS President Les Moonves wasn't keen on Cryer until he won him over with his first audition. "I've never seen somebody change Les Moonves' mind," Lorre later told Cryer.
8. Pretty in Pink was pretty awkward: Despite Cryer's many attempts to befriend Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy, the two kept him at a distance. "Molly would meet my verbal parries with awkward silences," he writes. "Trying to befriend Andrew was so tough it sent me in the other direction: as in, I adopted a low-boil dislike toward him." Cryer also took umbrage with McCarthy describing him as "just so needy" on the movie's 25th anniversary DVD edition ("I wanted it to work, I wanted it to be fun, and I wanted to not feel like an outcast for once. That's 'needy' all right," Cryer writes) and Ringwald telling Entertainment Weekly in 2010 she's "sure that Duckie came out by now."
Cryer, who's "honored" by Duckie's legacy as a gay icon, says he never played Duckie as gay and never thought of him as such. "Saying Duckie was gay, frankly, is a kind of cop-out, too easy a sexuality tag in this label-busting era for gender roles, too easy an explanation for an outsider losing the girl, and suggests that nobody that flamboyant could possibly be straight," he writes. "I respectfully differ on that one, Molly."
9. But James Spader didn't put him on the blacklist: Cryer bonded with Spader on Pink and would hang out in the latter's trailer, where Spader once remarked that he had a "lock on these teenage ass---- characters." "He was so good at it, in fact, that [director Howard Deutch] didn't originally want him, figuring him to be an ass---- in real life," Cryer reveals. "James could be odd, for sure, but he was always friendly to me."
10. Not here to make friends: In 1985, while waiting to get into the Boss — a club dedicated to Bruce Springsteen — Cryer chatted with a "beautiful brunette" outside whom he recognized but couldn't place, until he finally blurted out, "Hey, you're the girl from that tampon commercial!" She was, but she was also in that "Dancing in the Dark" video. "[Y]ou could say I picked the exact wrong thing by which to recognize a hot actress named Courteney Cox when you're hitting it off with her outside of a Bruce Springsteen-themed club," he writes. "She never spoke to me the rest of the night."
11. The ones that got away: Speaking of Friends, as Cryer has previously revealed, he lost out on a chance to play Chandler when his audition tape, which he filmed while he was in London doing a play, got stuck in customs. But he's totally cool about it. "Matthew Perry is f---ing great on that show!" Cryer writes, adding that it "feels great to lose a part to somebody who knocks it out of the park." It only feels terrible when "the great role goes to someone who fails at it." Other never-was parts: Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs — the audition for which he bailed on to care for his niece because he was thrown by Quentin Tarantino's then-fresh distinct writing style — and Daniel in The Karate Kid, which he did audition for, but found the dialogue "dumb and clichéd." He then watched the next actor audition: Ralph Macchio.
12. Health scare(s): In 1987, Cryer, then 22, was advised not to do anything strenuous after having surgery for a "very minor" form of cancer called dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans that manifests in "a lump that attaches to the underside of one's skin." But then a former girlfriend — the one he lost his virginity to — called and well, you know... When Cryer's wound started to grow, they went to the ER, where she left him for good just as his wound burst in the waiting room.
13. Robert Downey Jr. is his nemesis: Sort of. Cryer and Downey Jr., whom Ringwald wanted to play Duckie, both attended Stagedoor Manor (though not at the same time), a theater camp that also counts Natalie Portman, Zach Braff, Lea Michele, Mandy Moore and Josh Charles as alums (11-year-old Charles was "constantly surrounded" by a gaggle of 14-year-old girls, Cryer reports). One day, Cryer induced a gasp from artistic director Dr. Jack Romano during his favorite exercise, subway improv, in which the stage was a subway platform, by jumping off the stage when Romano signaled that a train was approaching. Unfortunately, the subway suicide jump has since been incorrectly credited to Downey Jr., even in Mickey Rapkin's book about the camp, Theater Geek. "Well, I'm here now to correct a historical wrong through this memoir and say, I'm the one who jumped!" Cryer writes. "I'm the gasp-inducing suicide!"
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