Keanu Reeves Once Revealed a Major Studio Backed Out of ‘Bill and Ted Face the Music’ After Making Unreasonable Demands

Fans waited nearly 30 years for Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter to reunite in Bill and Ted Face the Music. Reeves and Winter were waiting about 10 years to make the movie. In a 2017 interview, Reeves detailed some of the development problems they were having. 

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

Reeves appeared on The Nerdist Podcast in 2017 to promote John Wick: Chapter 2. When host Chris Hardwick asked him the status of the third, then untitled, Bill and Ted movie, Reeves explained the holdup. The film ultimately came out in 2020.

Keanu Reeves saw ‘Bill and Ted Face the Music’ go through multiple studios 

Orion ultimately released Bill and Ted Face the Music. Orion distributed Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey in 1989 and 1991. However, the studio fell on hard times in the ’90s and were out of the business until recently. Before Orion came back, Reeves said STX, the distributor of Hustlers and Bad Moms was involved. 

“We’re waiting on these entities,” a frustrated Reeves told Hardwick in 2017. “We’re waiting on the business side of show business to get their acts together because it’s a rights clusterf****. So there’s MGM and this other company STX that’s trying to do it.”

STX stepped in for another company before Orion returned for ‘Bill and Ted Face the Music’

STX wasn’t the first company interested in Bill and Ted Face the Music, or the last. Reeves said they were with MGM, and MGM passed, too.

“The writers had originally come to Alex and I,” Reeves explained. “They had an idea to tell another story. So Alex and I were like cool. We riffed and they wrote a draft. From there, we had a producer. We brought Scott Kroopf on board who was one of the original producers. Then you’re looking for a director and you’re looking for a place to pay for it and hopefully have distribution. So that’s MGM and then MGM’s like, ‘Mm, no, we don’t like it enough.’”

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

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MGM has also spent much of the 2000s up for sale to different owners. It wasn’t exactly simple for STX to take over, either.

“This company STX was like, ‘Yeah we kinda like it. We’d like to do it.’” Reeves said. “Then STX and MGM have to start talking to each other. You get into chain of title, you get into rights and they start negotiating.”

Keanu Reeves told the ‘Bill and Ted Face the Music’ writers to stop working for free

Bill and Ted Face the Music was a labor of love for creators Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon. They went above and beyond to make it work, but Reeves and Winter protected them from unreasonable demands.

“Then STX wanted some different draft,” Reeves said. “So the writers do some different drafts and they’re doing free drafts. We’re like, ‘You can’t do that anymore. You hace to get paid’ but then who’s paying you? Who’s going to pay them if they don’t have the rights to it? That’s the struggle. It becomes the business side of Show Business to find the funds and get the rights and pay the dough to let the creatives go.”

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

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In 2017, Reeves did not know Orion would come back. Fortunately, it finally worked out and we got Bill and Ted Face the Music in 2020.

Source: The Nerdist podcast (now Idiot with Chris Hardwick)