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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Bill & Ted’s Alex Winter, Scott Kroopf explain why ’90s comedy works so well in 2020

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Bill & Ted Face the Music reunited Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves 29 years after Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.

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This story is part of I’m So Obsessed (subscribe here), our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.

It’s 2020 and Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are back in the new film Bill & Ted Face the Music. The movie catches up with the Wyld Stallyns frontmen 29 years after Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. Face the Music is simultaneously ridiculous, funny and sweet, and it’s proof a ’90s-style comedy can work in 2020. It also captures the essence of 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and the joy many of us experienced watching that flick.

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Alex Winter, better known as Bill S. Preston Esq., and Scott Kroopf, who produced all three Bill & Ted films, were guests on ‘s I’m So Obsessed podcast. The director of documentaries like Showbiz Kids on HBO and The Panama Papers, Winter explained just how beloved the Bill & Ted films are and how he and Reeves get asked about them all the time.

The Bill & Ted films have “always been a joyful presence in my life,” Winter said during our interview. “And people ask me if it’s annoying that this thing had the cultural foothold that it does to the degree that people are always coming up to both of us and quoting lines and playing a guitar. And the thing is that wherever you are in your life, that’s a pretty joyful thing. It’s not a dark thing.”

Read: Watch Bill & Ted Face the Music at home for $25, or get the trilogy in 4K for $35

To play Bill and Ted after nearly 30 years, Winter and Reeves had a lot of catching up to do with the characters.

“Keanu and I both did a lot of prep work. There was a lot of physical prep, a lot of character work and a lot of work on the script and figuring out how the logic of it worked for us emotionally in terms of character arc,” said Winter. “But at a certain point, we just had to, like, put all that aside and do it.”

Read: Bill & Ted Face the Music review: A most excellent adventure through time

Kroopf, who’s also produced films like Jumanji and Mr. Holland’s Opus, as well as the series Limitless, said it was the chemistry between Winter and Reeves that made them so perfect for Bill and Ted when he first cast them in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. 

“It was almost instantly apparent to us that Alex and Keanu had special chemistry, because every time you went anywhere, if you went out in the waiting room, they were talking. If you went out to lunch, they were already there having lunch together. And then as you left, they were, like, getting ready to ride off on their motorcycles,” Kroopf said. “It was kind of amazing.”

During our conversation, Winter and Kroopf discussed the ingenious casting of Bill and Ted’s daughters, the hysterical performance Anthony Carrigan from HBO’s Barry gives as a robot, and how they paid tribute to George Carlin.

Read: Bill & Ted Face the Music gets surprise cameo from George Carlin

Listen to my entire conversation with Winter and Kroopf on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Bill & Ted Face the Music is currently out in theaters and available to rent or buy online. You can subscribe to I’m So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Connie Guglielmo or I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about work, career and current obsessions.

For more on Bill & Ted Face the Music check out our interview with Director Dean Parisot and writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson.

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