Keanu Reeves & Alex Winter Talk Bill & Ted 3
by Chris Tilly
Stars talk about the proposed sequel's script and current status.
Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter have been at Fantastic Fest this week, Reeves promoting his directorial debut Man of Tai Chi and Winter supporting thriller Grand Piano.
We chatted with them about both movies in interviews that will appear on the site down the line, but we also talked about eagerly anticipated comedy-sequel Bill & Ted 3, which the two stars are currently trying to get made.
Why do you think Bill & Ted have resonated with people?
Reeves: I think it’s clever. I think there’s an energy to those characters. I think it has a uniqueness to it. I think people were attracted to the hopefulness of them. The lifeforce of them. They keep saying yes. These extreme and extraordinary circumstances happen to them, and yet they are always in the immediate present. They’re fools in a classic storytelling sense, and I think it goes back to that hopeful lifeforce that is contagious. You root for them. And I think that turns into affection.
Winter: I think we all have a theory as to why those movies have lasted so long, and I think that it’s because they’re really well written – they’re not masterpieces, but they are written really well. You’ve got a movie that’s written by two best friends, it’s acted by two extremely close friends, and there’s a sincerity to it. You watch it and you get the warm fuzzies that you get when you’re hanging out with a really close friend. You’re making the same mistakes together, you have the same world view of right and wrong. Because it’s genuine and we’re not bullshitting – I think that that is just infectious. I think it translates to people who watch it now. And that’s the reason I thought there would be value in doing a third one further down the road. Obviously we’ve had the opportunity to do it at any point between now and when we did the second one. And neither of us wanted to do that, and none of us could figure a story that would be of any value. But in a way because so much time has passed, there’s really something sweet in the script they wrote – which is fabulous – there’s something sweet in revisiting two people in middle age who still have this sort of infectious childish fraternal relationship.
Why is now the right time?
Reeves: I think to be in your 50s and to do Bill & Ted... it makes me smile. What happened to these guys?
What did happen to them?
Reeves: In the third one that’s been pitched and has been written they can’t come up with the song that’s supposed to change the world. They go on this journey to try and find the song.
Is there a danger that making a sequel might sully the memory of the originals?
Winter: I don’t think so. We were very conscious that if we didn’t think the idea was great first, we wouldn’t proceed to a script. And if we didn’t think the script was great, we wouldn’t proceed to try and get financing, which is where we are at now. The script is just really great – it’s really sweet and interesting and stands on its own feet. I don’t really know what the danger is. I almost think that it’s precious to worry about it too much. There are people that love the first film that hate the second one. I happen to prefer the second one, but it’s radically different from the first one on almost every conceivable level. It’s not like the movies are that much of a piece. I can tell you that if we had only made one and then we were going to – 25 years later – make this movie, I think we would have problems on our hands. But I think that Bogus Journey is a good segue to where we’re going with this one.
Are the characters still relevant?
Winter: I would say so from the standpoint that the films still do really well today. The people that come up to me on the street – which is all day everyday – are anywhere from four to whatever. Kids love those movies. Let me put it this way – they were never, by today’s standards, gigantic tent-pole movies. They were fairly small, independent, non-studio movies. So we’re not making Men in Black. Would we try to make a $150m Bill & Ted movie? Absolutely not – that would be insane. But to make a little movie that’s sweet and that’s funny with two infectious characters, I think that has value.
Reeves: I think – yeah. If we bring in the idea of mortality – the fools coming up to mortality I think that is relevant.
Is it darker?
Winter: It’s darker but it’s still funny as hell. And it’s still really sweet. We’re not like at war with each other. We’re not going to Afghanistan. It’s not like Bill and Ted Meet Restrepo. People say it’s darker, but it’s still a Bill & Ted movie at the end of the day.
How close are you guys to getting it made?
Reeves: Not very. The writers have a story to tell, otherwise Alex and I would not engage. But they came up with a really good story, and it’s just trying to find the dough.
Winter: It’s the wonderful world of film development. We could be making it really soon, or we could be waiting a couple of years. Look at Dumb and Dumber, that was on and off and on and off again. Because it’s not in your hands. We’re at that point now where we’re waiting on another draft and we’re number-crunching and working on line production. It could not happen at all, honestly you just don’t know. But there’s a lot of people who want to make it happen. We have great producers, but until you’re on set, you just don’t know.