Bill and Ted Return as Energetic Airheads
Those gee-whiz kids Bill and Ted are on the road again, but Alex Winter (Bill) and Keanu Reeves (Ted) believe this will be their last joint adventure
by Bob Thomas, The Associated Press
Bill &Ted's Excellent Adventure was mostly scorned or ignored by film critics when it was released in 1989, but its mixture of teenage foolery and time travel scored with young audiences. The movie proved a modest hit for Orion Pictures.
Orion is releasing the sequel, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, a much more ambitious film with the same young stars, Winter and Reeves. Even if it scores at the box office, however, the actors don't see a "three-quel" in their futures.
"There has to be a good reason to make it," said Winter. "This one had a good reason. Sometimes you get trapped into a third movie when you can see there isn't that much reason to be there.
"The last one left everything hanging. In this one we tie up all the loose ends."
They make a curious pair: Winter, well-groomed, born in England, serious of mind, co-owner of a production company; Reeves, sloppily dressed, born in Beirut and reared in Toronto, casual in manner. They sat down for a joint interview before their film's release.
Both actors have done serious work that belies their airhead images as Bill and Ted. Winter, who came to America with his dancer parents at the age of 5, appeared at 10 with Vincent Price in Oliver! at the St. Louis Opera and with Yul Brynner in a revival of The King and I. He has had roles in such films as Haunted Summer, The Lost Boys and Rosalie Goes Shopping.
Reeves started acting in Toronto, made an impression as the troubled teenager in The River's Edge, and has also appeared in Permanent Record, The Prince of Pennsylvania and Tune in Tomorrow.
Asked about the sociological significance of Bill and Ted, Winter replied firmly: "The films very safely skate around all social, psychological, physiological and theological arguments, with the aim to make people laugh and to tell a big, grand, funny story.
"The joke is that these two guys are dumb and are pitted against big themes like death and God. But what they come away with is something very simple and basic and not theoretical. They go, 'Wow! Death! What a concept!'"
As Bill and Ted, they are required to maintain a high level of energy, Reeves said. "I like being up there," he said. "I really love that. Gosh. I just try to eat right. Really, we're just committed to give it all the energy and attention and joy that it deserves."
He admitted the first Bill and Ted script seemed rather silly on the page, "but there was definitely something to play, something attractive about the characters. They're interesting to play, given the obstacles they have to overcome and the fact that they don't have the thinking power to get what they want."
"The director, Peter Hewitt, kept stressing that we should have the same relationship that Laurel and Hardy had," Winter added.
About that second sequel, Reeves did some dreaming: "Now if Martin Scorsese should call up and say, 'I wanna do a really dark, dark Bill and Ted...'"