LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
Bill S. Preston, Esquire, and Ted "Theodore" Logan have been to heaven and hell, the past and the future. They've befriended Abraham Lincoln and Joan of Arc. They've bested the Grim Reaper in a game of Battleship. Now, nearly 30 years after we last saw them, the duo are together again in their new movie, "Bill & Ted Face The Music." They're on a quest to unite the world and save reality as we know it with the perfect song.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BILL AND TED FACE THE MUSIC")
KEANU REEVES: (As Ted) Bill, we've spent our whole life trying to unite the world. And I'm tired, dude.
ALEX WINTER: (As Bill) Ted, we have a destiny to fulfill.
REEVES: (As Ted) Whoa.
WINTER: (As Bill) Whoa.
HOLLAND TAYLOR: (As The Great Leader) Step forward. A song created by Preston and Logan performed tonight will save reality as we know it.
WINTER: (As Bill) Oh.
REEVES: (As Ted) Oh.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves play the slackers from San Dimas, Calif. And they are here with us now.
Welcome to WEEKEND EDITION.
WINTER: Thank you.
REEVES: Hi. Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I was so happy to see the word dudes being brought back into the world because it never left my world. But dude is just a good word. Did you guys feel like you were reuniting again with your characters?
WINTER: Yeah. I mean, we were excited by the idea that we first heard from the writers. And then we had to set about actually finding these guys again.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: How did you do that?
WINTER: Magic (laughter).
REEVES: You know, working on the script and working with the director Dean Parisot - the writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon were really collaborative with us. And then Alex and I just internally kind of rehearsing with each other - and it just got to that first day. And the first shot - we had to get in the phone booth. And there we were. And here we go.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) And did you, Alex, have to sort of, like, imagine yourself back to who you were? - because you guys have moved on in this, right? We see them, you know, 30 years later. They're married. They've got kids. It's a different Bill and Ted.
WINTER: It is. There was kind of a two-prong approach to the preparation. There was figuring out who these guys were at this point in their lives in a very kind of story-driven way. And as Keanu said, that was about he and I working together and looking at just the actual circumstances of these guys in their lives. And that was fun.
But then there was a whole kind of physical preparation because there's this crazy narrative of us acting opposite all these different versions of ourselves. And so finding the physicality of present-day Bill and Ted and then finding the physicality of all these different versions of us took a little bit of time, too. But it was fun.
REEVES: We were - really were reacting to the writers and their idea that our characters 30 years ago had this destiny, and they didn't fulfill it. So this idea of where are they now - it was like, who are these guys now? They're offered another kind of chance. But that's even more, in a Bill and Ted way, ridiculous, you know? And I thought in that model - felt like a worthwhile and funny idea.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Do you feel, Keanu, that you owe a lot to "Bill & Ted"? It was considered your breakout role.
REEVES: Yeah, absolutely - certainly with comedy.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: What did it teach you about comedy, about, I guess, timing and about, you know, becoming characters? - because, you know, for a long time, I think people mistook the character for you and who you were. Were you kind of bound by that casting? Did you feel like you had to shake it off?
REEVES: I was from the critics and journalists but not by the industry. But in terms of - I guess comedy is - you just can't play it funny. You know, you have to play the real of it. And then hopefully, the funny will come after that. But that's not to say that there aren't techniques and skills and, like - you know, you mentioned timing. Yeah. I think you just have to do it. You have to practice it. You have to consider it.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: 'Cause you've been doing a lot of sort of cameo roles in a lot of funny films lately that have gotten a lot of attention and made you the Internet's boyfriend again. Does that make you uncomfortable - this idea that you've become part of this pop culture phenomenon which you don't even need a second name? You're just one name, which - I think there's just very few people who have just the one name. And everyone knows who that is.
REEVES: Wow. I didn't know I got the one name. Thanks.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You got the one name.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I mean - and it's funny 'cause my producer, before I came on to talk to you, showed me that she has a mask with your face on it. You know, you are everywhere. And I just wonder what that must feel like.
REEVES: Yeah. Some of it's pretty surreal. But, you know, when it's nice, it's nice.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Mask on people's face with your face on it - good or bad?
REEVES: Nice. You know what? But that might fall under the surreal category.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) So this is going out theatrically. Obviously, with the pandemic, that's been a big issue - when movies are going to open, when they're not. I guess this will be one of the first movies that's actually going to be seen in the theaters. What are your thoughts about that?
WINTER: I think that the industry is rightly very concerned about the cinema experience. But also, they're very concerned about the economics of - for exhibitors who, you know, keep the movie business alive. And we want the exhibitors to stay afloat. And at the same time, we want people to be safe. There's a pandemic, and people need to be given an option to watch this movie safely at home. So we feel really good about the fact that the studio was willing to throw in behind that rollout plan. But we are also looking forward to a world in which the movie experience is back.
REEVES: I mean, I think everyone's going to put all the protocols in place to make it as safe as possible for people who do feel comfortable. That opportunity presents itself if they want to go to the cinema. And it's also on pay-per-view or streaming. So there's that option as well.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: For people who are going to watch this movie - and maybe people like myself who watched it when I was younger who are now going to watch it with my kids - what do you want them to sort of get out of "Bill & Ted"?
REEVES: Wow - just to laugh, to enjoy the ride, to, you know, feel good, feel positive and to share that, spread that around.
WINTER: People have a - an inclination to be weighed down by the gravitas of what's going on in the world at the moment. But I do think that cinema gives you an outlet for certain emotions in a collective way. And, you know, the film doesn't take itself seriously. It's not trying to present a message. But it has themes. And the themes are quite sweet and lovely. And the theme of this movie is very much about the whole world coming together and helping one another. But it's also - there's a lot of whimsy. I think an hour and a half of, like, genuine, open-hearted, innocent whimsy may not be the worst thing for people at the moment (laughter).
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Dude, you're so right. Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves - their new movie is "Bill & Ted Face The Music." It's out August 28.
Thank you very much.
REEVES: Thank you.
WINTER: Thank you.
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