Right off the bat, filmmaker/moderator Kevin Smith began the Comic-Con@Home Bill & Ted Face the Music virtual panel telling viewers as weird as this year’s SDCC is, at least it beats waiting in line at Hall H. The panel included cast members Alex Winter (Bill), Keanu Reeves (Ted), William Sadler (Death), Samara Weaving (Bill’s daughter Thea Preston), Brigette Lundy-Paine (Ted’s daughter Billie Logan) as well as director Dean Parisot and co-writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson.
Smith acknowledged how much Bill & Ted is baked into the DNA of the Jay and Silent Bob characters portrayed by Jason Mewes and himself. In fact, Smith has already seen Face the Music and gave a gushing review, admitting that he was moved to tears by the end.
The duo have certainly come a long way since Solomon and Matheson first created and actually performed the characters themselves in 1983 for an improv workshop. Bill and Ted were actually intended to be a short piece in a skit film until Matheson’s father, famed author Richard Matheson, convinced him that Bill and Ted could carry their own movie.
When approached by producers to make a sequel, Solomon said he and Matheson were hesitant to rehash the premise of the first film, this time with Bill and Ted having to pass an English test. Conversely, producers weren’t thrilled by Solomon’s and Matheson’s sequel pitch “Bill and Ted Go to Hell.” Fortunately, Reeves and Winter responded to the “Hell” pitch.
The seeds of what became Face the Music were planted over ten years ago during a friendly dinner with Matheson, Solomon, Reeves, and Winter. The writers proposed an idea for a third film described by Winter as a “piss take on Dickens. Sort of going back into your life and finding each iteration of your life was worse than the previous.”
While auditioning for the first Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure film was grueling for Reeves and Winter, for the actresses playing their daughters in Bill and Ted Face the Music the audition wasn’t nearly as rigorous. Perhaps a testament to the generational divide, both Weaving and Lundy-Paine had never seen the original Bill & Ted before being cast. Although Weaving watched the films when she was offered the part of Bill’s daughter, Lundy-Paine decided not to watch the films so as not to completely imitate her predecessor’s performance.
If you’ve seen the hilarious trailer released earlier this week, you’ll recall the scene of Death (played by Sadler) playing hopscotch. Apparently on the first take for his first scene, Sadler accidentally tripped and sprained his wrist. Parisot was quick to remind everyone that Sadler toughed it out and played his scenes with a swollen wrist.
As fun as filming was, Winter admitted the script was much more physically demanding for both he and Reeves than the first two films. For those who mostly know Reeves for his intense performances as the titular John Wick, Smith joked that it’s a nice change of pace for Reeves not to have to shoot anybody in a movie.
After one final endorsement from Smith describing the film as emotionally satisfying, the Bill & Ted Face the Music panel came to a close.
Bill & Ted Face the Music will be available to watch in operating theaters and at-home on demand on September 1st, 2020.
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The stakes are higher than ever for the time-traveling exploits of William “Bill” S. Preston Esq. and Theodore “Ted” Logan. Yet to fulfill their rock and roll destiny, the now middle aged best friends set out on a new adventure when a visitor from the future warns them that only their song can save life as we know it. Along the way, they will be helped by their daughters, a new batch of historical figures, and a few music legends – to seek the song that will set their world right and bring harmony in the universe.