Daniela Bobadilla as Sam Goodson in "Anger Management."
Charlie Sheen doesn't exactly have the reputation as an actor who's easy to work with. Given his recent history of badmouthing just about everyone related to his former sitcom "Two and a Half Men," it's fair to wonder how the self-proclaimed "rock star from Mars" so quickly rounded up a cast for his “comeback” show, “Anger Management.” Sure, the money and (dubious) notoriety that come with working alongside Sheen certainly help, but some close to him have chosen to insulate themselves from the harsh realities of Sheen’s not-so-distant past.
“Honestly, I’d heard a little bit of what had happened during that big whole rant, but I’m not big on, like, TMZ or anything, so I didn’t read too much into it,” said Daniela Bobadilla, who plays Sheen’s 15-year-old daughter, Sam Goodson. “As a person, he’s just the most caring, and he’s extremely grateful for anyone and anything around him.”
Though you may not recognize her name, Bobadilla isn’t exactly a newcomer to the small screen. She played Emma on NBC’s just-canceled “Awake,” and guest starred on “Desperate Housewives” this year before the series ended.
The doe-eyed 19-year-old’s character has her work cut out for her on “Anger Management.” High-schooler Sam has the task of keeping her anger-prone, superficial father (Sheen) on the straight and narrow. While Bobadilla hasn’t a qualm in the world about working with the infamous actor, ignoring his past requires some clever phrasing and unique thinking.
Asked whether Sheen’s past behavior taints the show, Bobadilla demurred, then responded, “Depends what you focus on."
But for her it’s not Sheen’s past but his imminent retirement that’s most upsetting. “Charlie’s just so good I got really sad when he told me that (he’s retiring after ‘Anger Management’). I asked him one day on set, ‘Are you sure?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah. You can watch my earlier stuff. I’ve done it for a while.’ So many people love him. I mean, I’m going to be sad. Really sad.”
Perhaps this sadness stems from an apparently reinvented Sheen who has crafted a kinder image of himself during this final, redemptive hurrah, showing a sweet disposition toward Bobadilla ever since her first audition for the show.
After the audition, “Charlie started singing one of the songs that I had done in a musical theater production, and it totally freaked me out,” Bobadilla recounted. “I was like, ‘Uh ...,’ and he’s like, ‘Yup, I YouTubed you!’ ”
Run a YouTube search for Sheen, however, and it’s clear that he doesn’t lead as bright and smiley of a life as his co-star. It's difficult to see the Sheen that Bobadilla so fondly describes. His frustration with “Two and a Half Men” still lingers, and he maintains a bitterness toward the TV industry that was made evident in his recent interview with The New York Times.
“I watch those yahoos (at "Two and a Half Men") struggle over garbage, and it was still garbage and insisting that they’d done their best, and they hadn’t," he fumed to the paper. "They got lazy. And they got other shows going and abandoned us. Whatever.”
While Sheen works his way through his multitude of recent missteps and the relationships they've destroyed, in Bobadilla's glimmering eyes, the sun is brightly shining and everything is swell for her co-star and "Anger Management."
"I have to see him as the person he hopefully is," she said. "He’s back, he’s OK, he’s trying to make things right!”
Whether it's true is beside the point.
"Anger Management" premieres June 28 at 9 p.m. on FX.
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