Alex Winter: Third Bill & Ted film only felt real when I was in the phone booth

Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves (Warner Bros)
Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves (Warner Bros)

Alex Winter has said it did not sink in that he was finally making a third Bill & Ted movie until he was back inside the time-travelling phone booth with Keanu Reeves.

The duo originated the roles of the pair of aspiring rock stars in the 1989 film Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, reprising their roles for the 1991 sequel Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.

They have finally returned to the roles almost three decades later in Bill & Ted Face The Music, in which the hapless pair, who are now middle-aged fathers, are tasked with writing a song that will save the world.

Winter told the PA news agency: “We had a lot of time to think about the characters because it took us a long time to get the film made and we had many many conversations over the years while we were off doing other things.

“Then we started to prep quite seriously in the run-up to the shoot and even then we never really fully went Bill and Ted, we were analysing and rehearsing and critiquing the script and developing, and then eventually we had to do it, we had to stop talking about it.

“The very first shoot on the very first day just coincidentally happened to be us in the phone booth, which we hadn’t been in in 30 years, and I have a Circuits Of Time book in my hand, which I hadn’t had in my hand for 30 years, if not longer, I’m not sure I even use it in the second movie, and I am looking at Keanu and he looks at me and we are like: ‘Oh wow we are actually making a third Bill and Ted movie.’

“It kind of all came home to roost, in a very joyful way.”

The film also features a brief posthumous cameo from George Carlin, who appeared as Rufus in both previous films but died in 2008.

He appears in the third instalment through the use of archival footage.

Winter said: “We talked about this a lot, especially early on, we knew that we wanted George Carlin’s character to have a very strong presence in the film without doing something that would be tasteless or awkward.

“Trying to rebuild him digitally and give him a significant role, we thought was just not a good idea.

“I think that Chris and Ed (writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon) were genius in the way they fused the whole movie with his presence, much more than the second film, because through Rufus’s daughter Kelly, played by Kristen Schaal, and his widow, played by Holland Taylor, it is really the driving force of our adventure but it’s done in a very clever way.”

Asked about the prospect of a fourth film, he said: “The fans were the reason the film got made, that is the reason the financiers believed in it and that is not hyperbole, it’s really true, and we really didn’t want to wait, we didn’t want to make the fans wait another year, they have been waiting for a decade for this thing so we really wanted to get it out.

“I know it’s a really tough time to go to the cinema, I know a lot of people can’t go to the cinemas and a lot of people shouldn’t go to cinemas in certain areas if they are immuno-compromised and all that is is to say that there is no way in all of that that we have given any thought (to another film).

“The moment we are in is so intense and it’s so day-by-day that I don’t think any of us have stopped to breathe long enough to think: ‘Oh heck, lets go make another one.’”

Bill & Ted Face The Music is out now in UK and Irish cinemas. The 4K restoration of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is available now.

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