Alex & Keanu's excellent interviews
One's blond, blue-eyed and brainy
the other's tall, dank-eyed and gorgeous.
Count on Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves, also known as BILL and TED, to set summer movie screens ablaze literally - in their hottest, most hellish adventure yet. Here, YM's EXCELLENT lowdown an two jammin' dudes...
TOTALLY EXCELLENT ALEX
by Peter McQuaid
On-screen, he plays boneheads brilliantly, but off camera, actor Alex Winter is way smarter than your average dude
The shooting of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure IIis just being wrapped up in Santa Clarita, CA. Blond moptop Alex Winter is perched on a rock in the hot sun, watching an actor dressed up as a demon pull rats out of his mouth.
Pretty gnarly, but all in a day's work when you're one half of America's favorite dude team.
At 25, Winter is probably Hollywood's youngest, hippest master of all trades, with as much experience behind the camera (director, writer, producer) as in front of it. He even has a movie production company called Stern Winter Productions, which he founded with his College buddy Tom Stern, back when they were students at New York University's prestigious film school.
Despite that and an impressive list of film and stage credits, you probably won't see Winter talking on the phone in a black BMW. Winter is on the cutting edge of the new, young Hollywood - the Hollywood that prizes intellect over a buffed, tanned bod and believes movies can be art, too.
While Bill & Ted costar Keanu Reeves is well on his way to becoming a leading man in the classic Hollywood mode, Winter's aspirations have more to do with the entire craft of filmmaking.
ALEX AT HOME
Home is a modest house he shares with his girlfriend (whom he'd rather not name) in funky, arty Venice - about as far away from the celebrity trail as one can get and still be within commuting distance of Hollywood.
"I like Venice," says Winter. "It's got the beach, and there aren't a lot of slick, Hollywood types running around."
Born in London, Winter moved to St. Louis, MO, when he was live, and then at 11, followed his parents, who are professional dancers, to New York City. Chances are they were the ones who gave Winter his energy, his intellect and his drive.
THE HARDEST WORKING MAN IN SHOW BUSINESS
Winters work for Bill & Ted II consisted of seven weeks of 12- to 14-hour days that started at 5:30 A.M. Nonetheless, Winter is enthusiastic about being Bill again. In this classic odyssey, there's a bad guy, wild worlds and lessons to be learned.
Winter won't say much about the new movie - "I'm not ruining the surprise" - except that Bill and Ted do go to the land down under, "where we have to face our worst fears - a real hell ride."
No doubt Winters up to the ride. This spring, just as Bill & Ted II was starting to shoot weekdays, Winter and Stern were hard at work weekends, putting the final touches to the premiere of MTV's new comedy series, Idiot Box, which he and Stern wrote, produced, directed and starred in. As soon as Bill & Ted II wraps, Winter intends to work on Freakz, an action adventure which he and Stern wrote and Winter plans to star in.
"It's a horror comedy," he explains, "about a Brat Pack actor who goes to South America to help fight the drug war and gets turned into a freak by a religious zealot who runs a freak show." And with that, Alex Winter has to run.
by Cyndi Cohen
He won our hearts playing a series of goofy yet lovable teenagers, but now, at 26 Keanu Reeves is a big boy and this summer may be the last time you'll see him be anything but that
For sure, Keanu Reeves is growing up. This chestnut-haired, chocolate-eyed actor is now straddling wild youth and adulthood - so far, so good. Known initially for the spacey - but-sincere kids he's portrayed in films like River's Edge, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and Dangerous Liaisons, Reeves often seemed to be locked into permanent puberty. But with three surefire blockbusters opening this summer and fall, Reeves is breaking out of the "Promising Young Actor" pack and going for full-blown star status as one of Hollywood's most multi-faceted leading men.
THE KING OF DUDE
In July, Reeves reprises his role as Ted opposite Alex Winter as Bill in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure II, and chances are it will be the last time audiences see him play a teenager. Doing the teen thing once more may seem like a step backward, but it was the role that made him a star. "I'm most recognized for my performance in Bill & Ted," he explains. "Kids still come up to me and say 'Dude!'"
One month after Bill & Ted II premieres, Point Break opens, in which Reeves stars as an ex-football player turned FBI agent opposite Patrick Swayze's surfing bank robber. And then in the fall, Reeves costarring with River Phoenix, plays a male prostitute in My Own Private Idaho.
In other words, Reeves is a hot property career-wise and serious about acting craft-wise. When he speaks about his craft, the "dudes," "mans" and "likes" totally disappear from his conversation and are replaced with mentions of famed acting teachers like Uta Hagen and Stanislavsky
But while Reeves may need occasional help "getting into" a character, he's never had any problem finding an audience. His first-ever role (in a high school production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible) called for him to ask the question, "What am I?" Far out in the audience a female schoolmate loudly whispered, "A hunk!"
And who would disagree? The combination of Reeves' chiseled features and almond-shaped eyes, together with his mixture of vulnerability, humor and strength, forms an intoxicating brew.
Maybe it's in the ingredients: Born in Lebanon to an English mother and a Hawaiian-Chinese father, Reeves traveled the world with his family, finally settling down in Toronto, Canada. Already an accomplished hockey player (he was nicknamed "The Wall" because no one could get past him), Reeves decided to give acting a try. Soon after, he landed a regular gig an a Canadian TV series, Hanging In.
With the series under his belt, he skipped out of twelfth grade and hit the road for Hollywood. "There was no world for me in Toronto as an actor," he explained. "It was pretty scary, but I had to go."
KEANU OFF CAMERA
From his very first movie role, word got around Hollywood that this newcomer had something special. The rest is history.
He jokingly dismisses his talent for portraying sweetly innocent, slightly confused characters as "victim acting," but that ability is what quickly turned his aspiring career into a fall-fledged one.
Off the set, Reeves definitely favors a low profile, opting for jeans and T-shirts, with that slightly unruly mane of hair blowing free.
Much of his free time is spent riding his 1974 850 Norton Commando motorcycle around his home in the hills above Hollywood. Reeves is still utterly enthusiastic about the sport, despite a nasty fall near Malibu a couple of years ago that cost him his spleen.
So now that Reeves is all grown up, will we see him playing any grandfather roles soon? Not likely. He's still got enough of the kid left in him to keep things interesting - like when a journalist asked him what to expect in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure II, in which the dynamic duo journey to hell. Replied Reeves, "Hell in this movie is spectacular... really trippy, man." Totally.
The Reeves Reader
name: Keanu (Hawaiian for "the coolness") Reeves
current residence: Los Angeles, CA
résumé: Movie roles: Youngblood, River's Edge, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Tune In Tomorrow..., Parenthood
he's coming soon to a theater near you in: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure II, Point Break, My Own Private Idaho
romantic status: No comment
reads: Antonin Artaud, Malcolm X, Philip K. Dick
listens to: The Pixies, Hüsker Dü, The Ramones, old blues singers like Billie Holiday
name: Alex Winter
current residence: Venice, CA
résumé: Movie roles: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, The Lost Boys, Rosalie Goes Shopping. Stage roles: Broadway productions of The King and I and Peter Pan. Has also directed music videos for Ice Cube, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Circus of Power and Human Radio
drives: A primer-gray 1969 Dodge Charger, customized by his friend, graffiti artist Slik
reads: Richard Ford, Rockspring, Jim Thompson, Philip K. Dick, Research Magazine, National Geographic and Mopar Muscle
goes out: To United Nations, a Los Angeles rap club where rapper/actor Ice-T hangs out
goes crazy for: Thai food
2 Most Excellent Dudes
Here, telling trivia on two most excellent dudes - Bill and Ted.
by Linda Friedman
THE YM MOST BODACIOUS BILL AND TED DIRECTORY
Bill and Ted's favorite word
"Dude"- they said the "D" word 60 times in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. If you're excellent at math, that averages one "dude" fore very minute and a half of this 90-minute movie.
Bill and Ted's second favorite word
"Most"- as in most egregiously, most heinously, most unusual, most unprecedented, most bodacious, most serious, most tranquil, most outstanding, most triumphant, most non-triumphant and, of course, most excellent.
Bill and Ted's most magnificent motto
"Be excellent to each other. Party on, dudes."
Bill and Ted's most incredible Idol
Eddie Van Halen
"One thing I know is that Joan of Arc is not Noah's wife." - Bill
"How's it going, royal ugly dudes?" - Bill
"I'm in love, dude."- Ted
They passed history most heroically...
...by bringing back from the past "personages of historical significance," including Socrates, the "most bodacious philosophizer in ancient Greece; " and Mr. Ghengis Khan, "the very excellent barbarian"
Now they're most favorably famous
Their excellent teachings are going passed on to potentially excellent students at Bill and Ted University in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure II
But are they most properly prepared to face...
...the Grim Reaper, God, the devil, two martians and the Easter Bunny as they fight the evil robot twins of Bill and Ted in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure II? We hope so, dudes