Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter Were Turned Into Musclebound Prison Inmates in ‘Bill & Ted 3’ by the Creator of These Famous Movie Monsters

Bill & Ted Face the Music shows Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter in several new lights. When Bill (Winter) and Ted (Reeves) travel to the future, they find each future version of themselves worse and worse. Eventually, they visit themselves in prison where their future selves have packed on the muscles in the prison yard.

Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter
L-R: Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter | Orion Pictures

Reeves spoke about Bill & Ted Face the Music in a Zoom press conference and Winter, director Dean Parisot and producer Scott Kroopf spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet by Zoom. Bill & Ted Face the Music is now in select theaters and on VOD so many fans have already met prison Bill and Ted.

Keanu Reeves said even at their worst, Bill and Ted retain this quality

Asked to choose his favorite future Bill and Ted, Reeves couldn’t. However, he did appreciate that even as prisoners, they were still very Bill and Ted at their worst. 

“I think it was more just emotionally the characters kind of got kind of dark,” Reeves said. “So it was nice to play this kind of darkness against the lightness of it. They’re almost like exuberantly darker.”

The premier Hollywood makeup artist turned Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter into muscleheads

Kevin Yagher designed the prison inmate muslce suits for Reeves and Winter. Yagher designed Freddy Krueger for A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 and 3 and designed the very first Chucky puppet for Child’s Play. Bill Corso applied the makeup. Corso worked with Parisot on Galaxy Quest and also did makeup for Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes, Jackass: The Movie and Deadpool 2.

“We had a smaller independent budget so we sort of relied on favors from people we had all worked with in the past,” Parisot said. “People love this franchise so much that Kevin Yagher showed up to do those muscle suits. We only had one of each and normally you get two or three, but we couldn’t really afford to do that. He built those specifically to Bill and Ted.”

Chucky in Child's Play
Chucky | United Artists/Getty Images

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Corso had also worked with Winter on his directorial debut, Freaked. Winter played a spoiled Hollywood star turned into a carnival exhibit, with a heavy prosthetic makeup. Reeves also played a dog boy in Freaked.

“The makeups are more sophisticated in terms of what you can do now, but it was quite similar,” Winter said. “Freaked was a different ballgame. Freaked was four or five hours in and two hours out every single day, every single shot of the entire shoot. It was very, very intense. Bill Corso did that and we were basically saddled to each other like the unidentical twins in the movie. So it was nothing like that. Thankfully, these were isolated days here and there and it makes a big difference when you’re not doing it all the time.”

Look for Easter Eggs in the prison tattoos

The muscle suits included new prison tattoos for Bill and Ted. Parisot said if you look closely, you’ll see they aren’t exactly hardened criminal gangs. 

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

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“They’re all Bill and Ted tattoos from the old days,” Parisot said. “They’re all sayings from ‘Be excellent,’ Wyld Stallyns and there’s a whole bunch of stuff. I’m going to let everyone else find all those little gifts in the movie because there are lots of them.”

Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter wanted more muscles 

Kroopf said Reeves and Winter got very enthusiastic about the muscle suits. 

“Then Alex and Keanu kept pushing the makeup people just to make it crazier and crazier,” Kroopf said. “It was a big thrill, I remember, when they tried on their suits for the first time. It was just so unbelievably crazy. Plus, I don’t know how heavy those things were but it was a heat index of over 110, maybe  115 when they shot it.”

Parisot said Winter made his own bed expanding his muscle suit for an outdoor shoot in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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

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“We were trying to keep them working in 100 degree heat and humidity,” Parisot said. “They were 40 pounds, especially Alex. Alex kept adding pecs. He said, ‘No, I need more muscles’ until that thing weighed so much he really was exhausted by the last take. I looked at him and thought he was going to fall over. He said, ‘Dude, I gotta go back inside.’ Those were custom made by one of the most brilliant prosthetic makers in Hollywood at this point.”

Winter said it wasn’t the weight of the suits. It was just wearing them in the heat. 

“They weren’t light but they weren’t terribly heavy,” Winter said. “That kind of makeup has advanced quite a bit. It wasn’t super light but it wasn’t what it would have been in the old days, but it was very, very hot. New Orleans itself was very, very hot. I was in an altered state and I love doing prosthetic work.”