Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter Added More Air Guitar to ‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’

Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) have grown up. It’s been 29 years since their second film. Bill & Ted Face the Music finds the Wyld Stallyns at a nadir. They haven’t had the career they expected, let alone written the song that would unite the universe. They are about to give up when the future comes calling for them again. 

Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter in Bill & Ted Face the Music
L-R: Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves | Patti Perret / Orion Pictures

That’s not exactly a place to start air guitarring and screaming, “Excellent!” In fact, the script had even less of Bill and Ted’s trademark mannerisms. Winter spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet by Zoom about the film. He said he and Reeves added more of each to Bill & Ted Face the Music, which is now in select theaters and drive-ins and available on VOD.

It was a creative decision to reduce the air guitar in ‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’

When we caught up with Bill and Ted in Bogus Journey, it was only two years after Excellent Adventure. They had graduated high school but were still those goofy teenagers. In 30 years, people may stop air guitaring as much.

“I honestly think it was, to be completely fair, I think that was a creative decision by [sccreenwriters] Chris [Matheson] and Ed [Solomon] when they wrote the first draft,” Winter said. “Keanu and I read that draft [and] we agreed. We respected where they were coming from and we all agreed fundamentally on the approach. The comedy and the point of the film from an emotional standpoint and a comedic standpoint grew out of this idea of Bill and Ted at the age they actually were at and not trying to pretend they were stunted teenagers.”

Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter still didn’t want to disappoint fans

Still, everyone came to see Bill and Ted again. You can’t totally deprive them of air guitar and “excellents.” So Reeves and Winter judiciously decided where they could add an extra one of each. 

Bill & Ted Face the Music
L-R: Samara Weaving, Bridgette Ludy-Paine, Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter | Patti Perret/Orion Pictures

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“In fact, if I remember correctly, they were so respectful and wary of it feeling like kind of a cartoon caricature retread of who we were when we were younger, that Keanu and I asked for a couple more placements of air guitar and a could more placements of ‘excellent,’” Winter said. “It was in there but it was, I think, maybe one less of both of those in the draft we read.”

Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter have always been creatively close

After 31 years of Bill and Ted, Reeves and Winter are close enough to agree on creative calls like that. Winter says they became close while auditioning for Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

“Keanu and I became friends actually before we got the part,” Winter said. “We became friends on the audition circuit that started on this movie auditioning for Bill & Ted. Then we became friends because getting this part took a really long time. We had a friendship already as we rolled into making the first one, but obviously that was cemented making the film. We became much closer during the course of the film.”

Bill & Ted Face the Music
L-R: Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter | Patti Perret/Orion Pictures

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It took 10 years to get Bill & Ted Face the Music made. Good thing they were in it together with most of the people who made all three. 

By the time we were shooting, we had Amy Stoch as Missy and Hal Landon Jr. as Captain Logan and other people who worked on the first two in other crew capacities. [Director] Dean Parisot really become a member of the family by then because he came on a good five or six years before we got the film off the ground. It was a very cozy, familial set in a genuine way which is often not the case with a movie where you’re all slammed together in this intense environment, you work furiously and then you blow apart and never see these people again.

Alex winter, interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, 8/20/2020