Bringing Bill S. Preston and Ted “Theodore” Logan back after several years away can sound like an excellent idea on paper (pun intended). But you don’t know if the concept is going to work, decades later, until the two men responsible for BEING Bill and Ted actually try on the characters and “drive” them around a little bit. If Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter can’t pull off the performances, for whatever reason, then the movie is sunk, and you don’t even bother with Bill & Ted Face the Music.
This was a concern that Alex Winter says he and Keanu Reeves were facing as they prepared to play their iconic characters once again in the 2020 comedy. While appearing on the ReelBlend podcast, Winter opened up about the first time that he and Reeves actually slipped back into character… a move that they basically put off until the last minute. Listen to the clip above, because it’s a sweet story about movie preparation.
It’s kind of funny to hear how concerned producers were about Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter possibly not being able to portray the characters in a movie yet again. After all, it had been nearly two decades since the actors last played Bill and Ted in the surreal sequel Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. What if it didn’t work anymore? And as Winter remembers it, they were starting to feel a little bit of pressure to test out the portrayals again. As he told ReelBlend:
I think both of us realized, the night before we started shooting, we’d never really just done the guys. You know? [laughs] In all the rehearsals, and all of the script meetings, in all of our prep -- Keanu and I, we would work together every weekend while we were in prep, and he came over on the Sunday before we started shooting on the Monday, and we were by ourselves. By then, the producers were like, ‘Geez, are they ever going to do it? Are they ever going to actually, like, do the guys?’ … And he looked and me, and I looked at him, and we were, ‘Alright, let’s just do the damn characters!’ So we spent that Sunday, for the first time really the day before shooting, just riffing on being Bill and Ted again. And it was really sweet.
The way that Alex Winter remembers it, that Sunday was the moment when the two actors really came to understand that the movie they had been working so hard to deliver actually would work. Winter is quick to point out that neither he nor Keanu Reeves is anything like Bill and Ted, so to actually step back into their shoes takes work. But it worked, and so did the movie.
Listen to the complete Alex Winter interview as part of this week’s ReelBlend episode:
And be sure to check out Bill & Ted Face the Music, which is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.