Charlie Sheen and Movies: A Love-Hate Relationship

By Bob Campbell 1993, Newhouse News Service | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), November 14, 1993 | Go to article overview

Charlie Sheen and Movies: A Love-Hate Relationship


Bob Campbell 1993, Newhouse News Service, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


CHARLIE Sheen breezes through Disney's "The Three Musketeers" like a man at ease as part of a dashing triumvirate. After all, Sheen, dad Martin and brother Emilio Estevez (who's reclaimed the original family name) have generated a father-son triple whammy rivaled only by the Lloyd-Jeff-Beau Bridges troika.

Sheen co-stars as Aramis in the latest remake of Alexandre Dumas' swashbuckler. The new film, which opened in St. Louis on Friday, evokes the tongue-in-cheek exploits of the "Hot Shots" films rather than the grimmer battlefield arts of "Platoon."

At 28, the trim, self-deprecating actor has survived as many personal cliffhangers as any Dumas hero. Dizzying early success was derailed by a bout with alcoholism and a string of flops. After cleaning up his private life, he took his "last career avenue" with the comedy "Hot Shots," which "put me right back on the map."

During an easygoing interview, Sheen projected the cool and wary poise of someone determined not to slip off the map again. A man who consciously strives to walk the line "between confidence and cockiness," Sheen glanced back thoughtfully at his lifelong love-hate relationship with the movies.

"I always understood film from the inside out," Sheen said. "For me, it was difficult to surrender to the fantasy of film, which was kind of a bummer. I was always aware of the camera moves, the lights, the technical aspects. Going on my dad's set was always an option, unless it was a heavy emotional deal. When I was 8, my brother and I were making our own super-8 films."

As a child, Sheen said, "We were flown on the old man's locations all over the world. That's how Dad kept a 33-year marriage alive."

"But," he recalled, "I was also kind of mystified by what Dad was doing. I would ask him, and he'd make it sound so simple. I got my own first taste at age 9 when they put me in one of the scenes. I can remember to this day the angst that I went through. Then I'd watch the old man carry on as though there were no cameras rolling. I couldn't quite figure out how he got through that barrier, that fear."

His father's advice was not entirely calming.

"He said it took him about 15 years to finally relax and not have his heart racing up into his throat," Sheen said. "And it took him 30 years to learn how to just not do anything."

Sheen remembers his mixed emotions watching his father film "Apoclaypse Now," an ordeal that stretched on for months and brought on a near-fatal heart attack.

He said: "I remember thinking, all this for the sake of a movie? …

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