When it comes to film anniversaries, time travel flicks are some of the most fun to celebrate, and the 25-year-old Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is a most non-heinous example. Granted, I’m just as prone to celebrating every other year that Bill & Ted has been around, but at least we get to write about it more here at GFR. Bill himself, Alex Winter (Esquire), recently talked to Empire about his memories of the cult film’s shoot and his numerous co-stars. Unfortunately, they only go into the historical figures, and all talk of George Carlin (outside of one reference) is left in the past. But these are still awesome tales.
Winter says he was completely starstruck by Go-Gos guitarist Jane Wiedlin as the ferocious Joan of Arc and didn’t have the courage to talk to her. Yet he somehow had the courage to perform music that he wasn’t particularly good at playing. He said:
She was in acting mode, so she didn’t play at the wrap parties. [Keanu] Reeves and I played. We were both really bad musicians and we had that wonderful combination of over-confidence and under-ability that makes for very entertaining performances. We both played bass, which is quadrupally pathetic. Yeah, we played with the Wyld Stallions drumkit, with the princesses on them. We went totally bananas, but none of us could play worth a damn.
What I wouldn’t give to be able to go back in time and watch some of those performances. Winter and Reeves’ youth also showed itself in their on-set antics, as Winter says they would “hide from the ADs, steal the batteries from their walkie-talkies, and lock people’s trailer doors.” Many of these pranks were aimed at co-star Terry Camilleri, who played the water slide-loving emperor Napoleon. Winter called Camilleri “a wild Australian with a Napoleonic complex,” and said his performance ended up getting him more lines as the filming went on.
Winter brings up two things that you should look out for on you next viewing. One is the real pained look on the face of the late Tony Steedman, who was not at all comfortable with having his Socrates character being chased across the ice in the Mall of America. The second is the saloon scene where they slide down the bar, which he knocks for the bad cut from them on the bar to two completely different actors whose heads go through the wall. I’d always noticed that as well, but it’s part of the fun at this point.
But the Wild West scene was a good time for Winter and Reeves.
I remember Reeves and I laughing because it was one of the first historical sequences we did, and as we got out of the phone booth and walked down the Wild West street we felt like we were Bill and Ted. Two dopey young guys, way out of their element!
I’m one of those guys who is completely behind a third Bill & Ted film, but only if it’s done with the same low-budget approach and lack of prestige. Catch you later, Bill and Ted!