Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
The ongoing fight between Charlie Sheen and his very estranged, soon-to-be-ex-wife, Brooke Mueller, keeps getting uglier.
“These two really hate each other so much now, it’s hard to figure out how they ever were in love,” said a longtime Sheen friend Wednesday.
Ironically, it is Sheen’s second wife, Denise Richards, who reportedly is playing the key role as a mediator between the two.
“After her own initial battles with Charlie, Denise has developed a pretty good, civil relationship with him — despite all the crazy stuff lately,” the source said. “On top of that, she and Brooke are good friends. … I understand it was Denise who first told Brooke to check herself back into rehab” after Mueller allegedly fell off the wagon and pawned jewelry to go buy crack cocaine in a rough L.A. neighborhood.
† While the judge overseeing the Sheen-Mueller custody case, regarding the couple’s twins, did not change that agreement Tuesday (despite Sheen’s move to void it, given Mueller’s recent drug use), he did make one significant amendment to it. For the foreseeable future, both Mueller and Sheen willhave to submit to weekly drug tests to guarantee their commitment to remaining clean and sober.
† Also, Mueller’s argument to keep custody of her children was bolstered when the judge learned she is a rehab outpatient — allowed to spend the nights at home with her kids. The judge apparently believes there are enough other people around (family members, nannies, etc.) to make sure the twins are properly cared for.
LINDSAY LOCKED: Lindsay Lohan is set to co-star in in the upcoming “Gotti: Three Generations” film, starring John Travolta as “The Dapper Don,” but the troubled actress won’t play Victoria Gotti.
Instead, she’s taken the role of Kim Gotti, the wife of John Gotti Jr. The casting came after a day of on-and-off contract talks that at one point had the film’s exasperated producer, Mark Fiore, sputtering to TMZ, “I will only ride a merry-go-round with my kids.”
Unlike most movies, “Gotti” will show the “heart behind the story,” Lohan told the Associated Press, adding, “I can relate to that because I think that I’ve been portrayed in a certain light. I just want to do my best to show what their family really went through.”
AGENDA ACTION: NBA great Earvin “Magic” Johnson hits Boul Mich today for an 8 to 9:30 a.m. event at the Best Buy store in the Hancock Center — all about raising awareness of youth obesity and how to combat it.
† The long-anticipated arrival of Kelsey Grammer is finally here! The “Frasier” star will begin taping Wednesday on “Boss,” an eight-episode Starz TV series. Grammer will play fictional Chicago Mayor Tom Kane, with Connie Nielsen (“Gladiator,” “The Devil’s Advocate”) portraying his wife, Meredith. Noted filmmaker Gus Van Sant will direct the first episode, and possibly more — making “Boss” his TV directing debut.
TOUCHING REVERSAL: People close to Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have been touched by how the couple have reversed roles in the past couple of months. As the actor and producer’s cancer battle has become less intense, a family insider told me, “It’s been terrific how Michael has provided quiet strength in Catherine’s life,” as she has dealt with her struggle with bipolar disease.
“It’s what ‘for better or for worse’ is all about,” added the family insider. “They are a true inspiration for their friends and family.”
FILM FLAM: Now that he’s so famous — due to “Borat” and “Bruno” — Sacha Baron Cohen reportedly is having a challenging time finding filming locales and situations for his upcoming mockumentary “The Dictator.” The film is loosely — very loosely — based on a book by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, and follows a fictionalized, firmly anti-democratic autocrat (Cohen) traveling around the United States.
† The Chicago-based Beverly Pictures crew is in New York tonight, attending the DVD launch party for the Chicago-made “Chicago Overcoat,” starring Frank Vincent, Danny Goldring and Armand Assante, hosted by Wu-Tang Clan.
SEEN ON THE SCENE: Legendary Chicago weatherman Harry Volkman, who recently published his memoir Whatever the Weather, celebrated his 85th birthday with his son and veteran broadcaster Eddie Volkman at Harry Caray’s on Kinzie — “Happy Birthday”-serenaded by the eatery’s waitstaff.