Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves are back for the latest installment of the “Bill & Ted” trilogy, “Bill & Ted Face the Music,” 31 years after the first film’s release.
In the latest film, William “Bill” S. Preston Esq. (Winter) and Theodore “Ted” Logan (Reeves) are now in the middle age and have yet to fulfill their rock and roll destiny. The pair are still best friends, and with help from their daughters (played by Brigette Lundy-Paine and Samara Weaving) they embark on their quest to find the song that will set their world right and bring harmony in the universe.
The film is directed by Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest), from a screenplay by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey) – and produced by Winter, Ed Solomon, Scott Kroopf, Alex Lebovici, and Steve Ponce.
The original film in the trilogy, “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” was released in 1989. For Reeves and Winter, jumping back into the roles was different because they had to reframe the characters’ headspaces.
“The film took time to get made, and it went through a lot of iterations with the script that we all worked on together and the writers put a lot of effort into,” said Winter. “It gave me a chance to wrap my head around who this guy was at this age, and me and Keanu spent a lot of time talking about those things. There’s also a familiarity to working with Keanu, the physicality of that, the instinctual nature of the way we riff on the dialogue, that stuff kind of did kick in on its own.”
The first film in the trilogy, “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” first premiered in 1989, with the sequel, “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey,” premiering in 1991. Even though the first film debuted to audiences over 31 years ago, “Bill & Ted Face the Music” still has the charm that audiences fell in love with in the late 80s and early 90s while bringing it into the 21st century.
“The writers did that — the way that they structured the film, the plot of the film, it was all about facing the music and being in the moment,” said Reeves. “I think you see that in one of the opening sequences of Bill and Ted at the wedding ceremony. They’re not playing Van Halen riffs, they’ve expanded their musical excellence — they’ve moved on, they’ve developed from that.”
This time around, Bill and Ted are fathers, which allows the story to really lean into the idea of the passage of time while they face the challenges that come in this new film.
“They have very distinct lives with their wives,” said Winter. “They love their kids, and they love their wives, and yet they’re having challenges in their life. And in typical ‘Bill & Ted’ fashion, they’re very simple guys who are always facing these gigantic challenges. In this case, we have not succeeded in writing the song that will save the world and ultimately reality as we know it.”
“Brigette and Samara are just lovely people and very, very talented,” said Reeves. “[They] brought an enthusiasm and craft, so it was very fun.”
“It also was fun to play Bill and Ted as dads. It changes you in terms of how you approach the role,” added Winter. “We never felt that these films were kind of bro-y, even in the originals I don’t think they are, they are more child-like. But once you’re a parent it’s really not that, and Bill and Ted love being parents, they love being husbands. So that created more things to play.”
The film features some new guest stars in the cast, including Kid Cudi, Kristen Schaal, Anthony Carrigan, Erinn Hayes, Jayma Mays, and more. You also get to see a version of Bill and Ted that no one has seen before — a future version of themselves in a prison yard — as well as many surprises that have yet to be revealed.
“We really wanted to maintain surprises for the audience,” said Winter. “We managed to continue to do that — there is a lot that no one has seen that is in this film.”
When asked about how it feels knowing that “Bill & Ted Face the Music” will hit many different generations, including some who were not even around when the original films came out, Reeves and Winter say that the feeling hasn’t quite sunk in yet.
“That hasn’t really hit yet, that’s more of a concept than reality,” said Reeves.
“We tried to make a film that would be enjoyable whether you had seen the first two or not,” said Winter. “We’ll soon find out if that’s true.”
For those who are looking for comfort from Bill and Ted in this ongoing pandemic, Winter and Reeves look to the classic “Bill & Ted” motto:
“Be excellent to each other,” said Winter.
“And party on, dudes!” said Reeves.
“Bill & Ted Face the Music” will premiere in theaters and on-demand on Aug. 28. For more information, visit billandted3.com.