Moderator Kevin Smith sat down with the creatives of Bill & Ted Face the Music on Saturday. The panel included stars Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine, and William Sadler. But that’s not all! Director Dean Parisot and writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson also joined the fray.
Now, Smith started out by heaping praises on the new flick. “It makes one feel warm in these hopeless times…it’s adorable. It’s meant to be adored,” the veteran filmmaker said. In addition, he explained that the Jay and Silent Bob franchise was heavily influenced by Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. The film provided a blueprint for Smith’s own cinematic endeavors.
Next, Solomon delved into the inspiration behind the characters of Bill and Ted. Back in 1983, he would improvise these surfer-type characters alongside Matheson. It all started when someone suggested Solomon and Matheson portray two teenage boys taking a history test that don’t know anything about history. After that, Solomon and Matheson would frequently revisit these characters for other events.
Then, before filming Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Solomon and Matheson were in line at McDonald’s in Arizona. They noticed two men acting just like Bill and Ted. The duo thought said men would be perfect for their leading characters. Later, Solomon and Matheson finally met Reeves and Winter on set. As it turned out, Reeves and Winter were the men ahead of Solomon and Matheson at McDonald’s! It’s a small world, indeed.
Next, the writers discussed how the sequel came to be — Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. Initially, the pair pitched the idea of Bill and Ted taking an English test. But that seemed like old hat. So, they broached the idea of Bill and Ted dying and going to hell. However, the producers weren’t keen on that as it sounded a little too dark.
Winter delved into how the latest film came to fruition. Parisot, Solomon, and Matheson had dinner with Reeves and Winter. The group stayed in touch over the years despite going their separate ways and cultivating respective careers. Winter recalled that it felt as if the writers/director were subtly pitching Bill & Ted Face the Music. Winter hoped that, after three decades, the project was doable.
Next, Smith asked Winter and Reeves if, after the first film was released, they knew just how successful they’d become. Reeves recalled people yelling “Be excellent!” to him on the street. Winter reminisced on a trip to Paris, wherein he encountered two men imitating Bill and Ted. The impact was clearly quite strong.
Later, their film children chimed in with their audition experiences. Lundy-Paine never watched the first two movies prior to their audition. Weaving ended up watching said films with her significant other after she learned of her impending audition for Bill & Ted Face the Music. “It was so innocent and delightfully funny,” Weaving said. Fun fact: I was today years old when I learned that Weaving’s uncle is the one and only Hugo Weaving. Only at SDCC 2020!
Then, Smith asked Weaving and Lundy-Paine how they prepared to play Bill and Ted’s daughters. “I watched Alex’s performance and tried to study how he held himself as Bill…I added something different to make it different from Bill,” she said. Lundy-Paine also studied Reeves’ physicality to see how he moved as Ted. They go on to explain that Billie and Thea possess the goofiness of Bill and Ted, but the pair are also quite intelligent. “That’s how we played with those differences,” they said. It was about finding the middle ground as opposed to merely being imitations of two established characters.
Next, Smith had everyone state their highlights or favorite moments from making Bill & Ted Face the Music. Sadler delved into a memory of playing hopscotch by himself as Death. “I tripped and I caught myself…I sprained my wrist,” he revealed. However, he forged ahead through the pain and filmed a wonderful reunion scene with Reeves and Winter.
“Actually, watching those three (Reeves, Winter, Sadler) have those very intimate moments…at the beginning of the film, Brigette and I watched our fathers perform and I was crying with laughter,” Weaving added. She laughed at how vastly different Ted was from the ever-serious John Wick.
“Everyone who we find in this film who’s an actual musician…Patti Brindley who plays Brahms…shout out to all the brilliant musical talent that went into this,” Lundy-Paine said.
“The movie was really hard physically and that’s not a bad thing…we (Reeves and Winter) got into these rocker characters we were playing and we just went off…I remember thinking, ‘Bill and Ted are f*cking back!” Winter revealed.
“To partner up and work on the craft side of it and then we get to play…there’s no other place where I can laugh like this,” Reeves gushed. He delved into how much he enjoyed working with Winter and how much he laughed on set.
Lastly, Smith ended the panel by issuing one last glowing endorsement for Bill & Ted Face the Music. “It’s funny, warm, everything a movie should be…it grabs you by the heart and doesn’t let go. You let Bill and Ted grow up and it’s a beautiful thing,” he said. Reeves proceeded to give cast and crew shout outs, because he’s Keanu Reeves and literally the nicest person on the planet.
That’s a wrap on Bill & Ted Face the Music at SDCC 2020!
You can check out the full panel here.