Melanie Lynskey famously stepped back from Two and a Half Men in 2005 after two seasons as a main cast member, but in a new interview with Vulture, the Yellowjackets star revealed she spent nearly a year negotiating her exit.
Lynskey appeared in the Two and a Half Men pilot as Charlie Harper's (Charlie Sheen) stalkerish neighbor Rose before being upped to the main cast. She appeared regularly for two seasons, getting paid "the least they could possibly pay" by SAG regulations, and then downsized to a recurring and guest role for Seasons 3 through 12.
"I went out for every single pilot," Lynskey said of the period leading up to her casting on the sitcom. "I got cast as a guest star on Two and a Half Men and I just thought, 'Do a sitcom — that seems like fun.' When the show got picked up, they asked me to be a regular; that was a harder decision. But everyone around me was like, 'Wow, this is great, congratulations.' So I decided to try it on."
"Also it was nice to be getting a paycheck. It wasn't huge; it was literally the least they could possibly pay me, according to SAG," she continued. "I did one season, and I thought, 'Oh, this is not for me.' It felt very hard knowing that most of my year was gonna be this."
Although Lynskey wasn't in every episode of the series at the time, it prevented her from doing any other work, so she told show creator Chuck Lorre that she wanted out.
"The show was a huge hit, and he just said, 'Please don't. You have this story line and that story line coming up next season.' He really felt excited," recalled Lynskey. "Then the next season happened — all of the story lines happened in one episode!"
After the conversation, Lynskey realized she was "not doing things I want to do," and she worked to negotiate a deal that allowed her to take on other roles. "They really tried to talk me out of it. Finally, we came to an agreement where I could come and go," she said. "A couple of people were like, 'You could be a millionaire.' I get it. We're going into the third season, and that's the time you can ask for a raise. But it didn't matter."
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Deena ElGenaidi's writing has been featured in Nylon, MTV News, Insider, The AV Club, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @deenaelg.
TOPICS: Melanie Lynskey, Two and a Half Men, Chuck Lorre