Bill & Ted Face the Music: Anthony Carrigan, Holland Taylor Talk Film

Actors Anthony Carrigan and Holland Taylor made the most of their screen time in their latest Bill & Ted Face the Music. Both spoke with Variety about their time on the film. Carrigan plays Dennis Caleb McCoy, a time-traveling killing robot. It's the kind of role he's used to after his recent turns on television playing hitmen Victor Zsasz on Gotham and NoHo Hank Barry. The actor had the grueling physically-demanding task of wearing a bulky costume out in the middle of summer in the New Orleans heat to shoot his scenes. Carrigan's been a fan of the franchise since seeing the films on VHS. "To be part of this final chapter, which was 30 years in the making, was incredible," he said. When the actor started filming his scenes with stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter, he couldn't help being starstruck. "It was so distracting," he said. "The first time I was in a scene with them, I had lines to say, but I forgot them. I was so in awe of being in the presence of Bill and Ted. It was hard at times, not to just fan out." On the set, Carrigan was surprised how, unlike Reeves and Winter are like their counterparts. "What's so disarming is that they are the least airhead guys you'll ever meet," he said. "They're both so brilliant and erudite. It's kind of intimidating how smart they are."

Bill & Ted Face the Music: Anthony Carrigan, Holland Taylor Talk Film
Anthony Carrigan as Dennis Caleb McCoy and Holland Taylor as The Great Leader in Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020). Image courtesy of Orion Pictures

As far as getting into costume, it wasn't as arduous as imagined. "It was certainly a process," he continued. "There was a makeup team of five people putting it on, and we got it down to two-and-a-half hours. The big thing was to make sure I had some mobility. But it was tough. We were in New Orleans in the summer, and it was so hot. I had forty pounds of silicone and plastic and latex so that just took me into a whole new dimension of discomfort. So little of my actual skin was in contact with the air that the only way I could cool myself off was to have two ice buckets and submerge my hands and wrists in them between takes. Air-conditioning wasn't going to help with that costume." When it came to the inspiration behind Dennis, Carrigan didn't have to go far. "I was really inspired by the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz," he said. "Some of it was the discomfort of my suit made it harder for me to emote and restricted my movement, so my character kind of emerged from that."

Taylor's familiarity with the Bill & Ted franchise stems from seeing Excellent Adventure (1989). "I loved the first one," she said. "The second one, I hadn't seen. But even 30 years later, I remember it as a goofy fable that really worked. I liked that it was ludicrous, but the actors played it real, which is true of comedy. It has to be played deadly seriously. I loved the whole low-rent quality of the special effects." As far as her inspiration for playing The Great Leader who tasks the duo on their mission, it's former Texas Governor Ann Richards. "Oh, it was wonderfully ridiculous and sublime," she continued. "I played her like I played Ann Richards [Taylor wrote and starred in 'Ann,' a one-woman show about the former Texas governor]. Of course, it's the story of my career. I'm always cast in these kinds of roles."

Taylor described how she'd been typecast as authority figures. "I'm always playing these silly or pompous or impossibly grand figures," she said. "I was the law professor in Legally Blonde, the judge in The Practice, all these women who are very powerful and confident. I'm not powerful, and I don't have those qualities in real life. But somehow, I'm able to sweep that all away, all my shyness and insecurity when I'm acting." You can read about Carrigan's update on the third season of Barry here. You can also read more about Taylor's experience on the Netflix series Hollywood here. Bill & Ted Face the Music is currently in theatres and on-demand.

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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