While the first two Bill & Ted movies are cult classics, the long-gestating third movie was not a given. In fact, it's been almost 30 years since Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves last played the titular dudes, and – although Bill & Ted 3: Face the Music may seem like an easy box-office win – that doesn't mean there weren't problems getting the eventual movie made.
Speaking to our sister publication Total Film for the new issue, the cast and crew of Bill & Ted: Face the Music spoke about the threequel's long journey to cinemas.
“I would say, for production, we probably had the amount of money we’d get to make a television pilot,” chuckles director Dean Parisot, who previously helmed Galaxy Quest and Red 2. “And we had to make a movie that takes place in Hell, and has the destruction of space and time, and the future prosthetics. It was logistically very difficult to make. What made it easier to make was that almost everybody I had worked with over the years – well-known artists with a collection of awards under their belts – took incredible pay cuts, and did anything to accomplish this project.
"I think it’s because there’s such a love for these characters and what they represent. We have struggled the entire time to eke out something that we loved. But it’s a testament to everyone’s commitment, because both Keanu and Alex, and Chris and Ed, never gave up. But that sort of made it all great fun."
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That ethos of doing things on the cheap harkens back to the work the team did on the very first Bill & Ted. "We're still a pretty scrappy independent movie," laugh Keanu Reeves. "It's part of the charm! This movie is very much in the spirit of the other two films across the board. So there are Easter egg cameos, and there are other important musical figures that are prominent. I don’t want to give too much of it away but the spirit of it, all the way down to the soundtrack... it’s a Bill & Ted movie, straight up.”
“People will recognise them as who they are from the get-go,” Winter chimes in while on the same call as Reeves. “They haven’t turned into different people. But a lot of the comic conceit comes from that idea. If you’ve got two normally unstoppable, persevering characters like this who are faced with a pretty great challenge, and they’re older, and they’re dealing with the realities of life on top of the challenges they’re facing, then what does that do?”
Bill & Ted Face the Music will see the duo come up with a song that saves the entire universe. Luckily, they're not alone, as they enlist the help of their daughters and Death, plus they head to the future to get some tips from their future selves.
Read the full story in the new issue of Total Film (opens in new tab) – which hits shelves both real and digital this Friday, July 24, and features interviews with Reeves, Winter, Parisot, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine, and writer Ed Solomon. Face the Music is scheduled to hit cinemas in August.
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