Press Conference: Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter Talk ‘Bill & Ted Face The Music’, Returning to Their Iconic Characters & More
Bill & Ted Face The Music is now available on VOD and it is definitely most excellent! If you haven’t already, check out our review for the film right here!
Earlier this week, we had the chance to attend the Bill & Ted Face The Music Press Conference. Of course in attendance were the two film stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter with a moderator Stevie Wong.
Check out some of the highlights from the press conference below:
Wong: The term be excellent to each other is a line from the film that really needs to be a motto for 2020. Why do you think this advice to be kind to each other is so relevant right now?
Keanu Reeves: I think it’s relevant and I guess now it has certainly more impact just because of the situation that we find ourselves in today. And the idea of be excellent to each other, I think is a very good idea.
Alex Winter: I think Keanu summed it up pretty well. I think that the Bill & Ted movies have kind of an inherent sweetness and a theme of inclusivity of people, you know? Being kind to each other and coming together; and that was certainly the story that the we set out to write with a third – one many years before there was a COVID or the situation we’re in today. So it just so happens to be something that may bring folks some joy this particular time because of that, but that was a movie that we all set out to make.
Wong: After all these years of not playing Bill and Ted, how easy was it to get back into the characters’ speech and mannerisms?
Winter: We had time. The film took time to get made and went through a lot of iterations with the script that we all worked on together. The writers put a lot of effort during that time; it gave me a chance to wrap my head around who this guy was at this age – and Keanu and I spent a lot of time talking about those things. So it wasn’t like I just had to suddenly turn it on like a switch. I had time to prepare. And then there’s also a familiarity to working with Keanu, and the physicality of that the instinctive nature of the way we riff on the dialogue. That stuff just kind of did kick in on its own. It did for me anyway. But it was helped by the fact that we had a lot of time to rehearse and prep and discuss it.
Wong: Keanu, then when you did have conversations with Alex about what it would mean for these characters to be at this age that you guys are playing? What were the conversations about?
Reeves: Yeah, I mean, there’s been many years since we’ve seen them last. And during those years, they’ve lived life and, you know? They’ve got more mature daughters and their relationship with their wives. And they’ve been with their friendship and being together with this kind of pressure of being, you know, this destiny that they were given, and responsibility of uniting the world through music that they haven’t been able to do. And just how do those pressures, how does that maturity, what does that look like, you know? Then so to play these guys who are still familiar, but not caricatures of themselves from the past and be present, so that we feel the weight of these guys, you know? As well as their joy and their lightness in their spirit.
Wong: After all these years of playing such positive characters, what is the after effect of doing Bill and Ted? Like for a period of time, like do you walk away in a good, like, in a good mood? Or like what is what is your kind of like, version of PTSD of like, what a billing tab looks like for you guys?
Winter: Yeah, you know, I would say for me, the whole experience has a kind of warmth to it. Um, that’s always been the case with playing these guys because they are joyful, optimistic people, even if they’re experiencing hardships and challenges and have fear and doubt and all the human traits that we do have as these characters. I think added to that the experience was particularly warm because there were so many of us reuniting Keanu and I already see a fair amount of each other but we hadn’t seen our work with William Sadler, and how you know how Landon Jr. and Amy stock and you know Scott Creek was producing and this is great gang together.
And just the the incredible commitment of this ensemble cast that we were so lucky to have and and what they brought to the table and the crew that we had that was really stellar. So it was a very warm experience. It wasn’t easy. It was challenging. There were difficult days. But I think you come away from the experience with I felt very good about what we made and and I felt, you know, great appreciation for having had the experience.
Because Bill & Ted is so iconic to the 80s, were there any reservations or kind of questions that you guys had about bringing that kind of iconic duo to a modern day?
Winter: The writers that, you know, I think the way that they structured the film. The plot of the film, it was all about facing the music and being in the moment. So that that work was kind of done for us. I mean, I think you see that, you know, one of the opening sequences, Bill and Ted at the wedding ceremony, they’re not playing, you know, Van Halen riffs. You know, they’re doing they’ve expanded their musical excellence, you know, but they’ve, they’ve moved on, they’ve developed from that. The theme of the daughters using music as a mashup tool is also very modern kind of idea.
How has fatherhood changed Bill and Ted?
Winter: Well, I mean, they have real that’s another aspect of the modernity of it of what takes it kind of away from the last time we saw them was you know, they have very distinct lives with their wives with their partners and their parents and they love their kids and they love their wives and and yet they’re having challenges in their life. And in typical bill and Ted fashion, they’re very kind of, you know, simple guys who are always facing these gigantic challenges, right. And in this case, it’s we have not succeeded in writing A song that will save the world and you know ultimately turns out reality as we know it that can be ascribed to any challenge that one faces at a certain point in their life only and not written not read quite so large.
So that’s really what’s you know, what’s impacting us is how do we relate to our wives and our daughters are having some trouble with their wives. We are in marriage counseling The first time you see us, you know, daughters are very lucky. They love us very much, but they know that we’re having a hard time. So that’s creating some friction within the family. And you know, Keanu and I just leaned into the the grounded stuff. So to Dean paracel was very important to him to kind of find a grounded foundation from which to launch into this completely insane narrative.
Wong: I got to ask what was it like to kind of bring in Samara and Bridgette into the fold and to kind of work with an energy because obviously there are people that you’ve worked with prior but then to also bring a new people into the mix. What was that like for both of you to have daughters all of a sudden?
Reeves: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. I mean, they’re, you know, Bridgette and Samara are just lovely people and very, very talented and brought a kind of enthusiasm and craft. So it was a very it was very fun.
Winter: I feel the same. There was a little bit of anxiety – not about them as as as actors at all – but about even the earliest iterations of how those characters who would be conveyed and we were really happy with the way Chris and Ed had written two daughters. But it was really a whole different ballgame when when Bridget and Samara were cast and the amount of thought they put into playing them. And it wasn’t at all just watching them our movies five times and then doing us thankfully. They just created their own characters that were very much unique to them and their world views and all of that.
So it’s very gratifying. It was also fun to play Bill and Ted as dads, you know, it changes you in terms of how you approach the role. So, you know, we never felt these movies were kind of “bro-y” even the originals, I don’t think really are in a sense, they’re more childlike than they are that but, um, but once you’re a parent, it’s really not that you know, and Bill and Ted love being parents, you know, they love being husbands. So that created more things to play.
Wong: To kind of live with these characters for such a period of time and kind of traveled, what their journey How has your kind of journey been to be alongside Bill and Ted like what is what if they kind of given you you know, over the years?
Reeves: With so many more moments with fans and then you know for me it’s such an honor to work with Alex and and you know the way that we can share our sense of humor and laugh in the work is something that I don’t get anywhere else – it’s pretty extraordinary and I’m very grateful for it. Thanks Alex.
Winter: Man, it’s a it’s obviously mutual you know? It’s a strange, and very lovely thing to have in your life. It’s very sweet from the sort of outside aspect of having you know? You’re in your day, you’re in your head, you’re in your world, but it’s got nothing to do with public life and some five-year-old comes running up to you to tell you how much you mean to them is pretty amazing.
Then the internal performance performance part of it of just having had these experiences obviously count on I’ve been friends all these years but very different sort of my memories of the performance aspect with him and, and and getting into this groove that we get into interactions like being is a lot like being in a band especially the way comedy works so much about timing that we kind of replay we literally play together and so to have had the opportunity to come back and do that again. I didn’t think about it that way going in because there was so much work to do. But on the first week, I was like I found myself just playing again with Keanu and it was really fun and instinctive and a just a very rare thing. It’s its own thing.