The experience of the Bill & Ted franchise is unlike any other. The San Diego Comic-Con @ Home panel shows how flexible it can be from those who worked on the previous films like stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter to the newest cast additions who never seen the previous films before in Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine. The four, along with co-star William Sadler, creators and writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson, and director Dean Parisot joined host Kevin Smith to discuss Bill & Ted Face the Music. As the long-awaited third entry of the franchise, Smith said without Bill & Ted; there is no Jay and Silent Bob. The panel began where Matheson told how he and Solomon started as the characters at UCLA. Bill & Ted was supposed to be a skit movie. "Well, we were going to write kind of a like a skit movie with a bunch of different skills because we had just a bunch of silly ideas, and Bill and Ted were gonna be one of the pieces," he said. "It was gonna be like an eight or 10-minute piece, and it was actually my dad who was Richard Matheson who wrote 'I'm Legend,' and I sort of ran it by him. He said that's it; you can make a whole movie out of that. So we started looking at it that way. I'm sorry I probably saw me my eyes like hit the roof and stuff Richard Matheson is in the DNA of Bill and Ted as well not just physically but like creatively as well."
When auditioning for Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), Reeves and Winter admitted how much of a rigorous process but remained grateful for how they became friends because of it. "The first audition was I mean I recall in the end, there were about ten [other actors], and we would like all [rotated]," Reeves said. "Sometimes play Bills sometimes play Ted and interact with each other and 'Alex, you remember that there was actually a lunch like we started in the morning, had lunch [and] went to the end of the day' Yeah, [it's] more like a like an athletic track out than an actual acting audition. It was a grueling, and I would say somewhat unnecessarily prolonged experience thing about the way they did it now in retrospect everybody made that movie was super."
When it came to Weaving and Lundy-Paine's auditions, they came from a place where neither saw the films before and tried to stop short of doing full impressions of Reeves and Winter. "I, unfortunately, was born in 92," Weaving said. "I think it was quite [an experience]. I could be wrong. I know a few Aussies who have seen it, but I think it's quite an American cultural phenomenon. I could be ignorant about that. I remember getting an email with the audition, reading it, and saying what's Bill & Ted. My partner was sitting next to me. He left off the couch and started doing this bizarre surfer voice I had never heard of. He started saying you know sounding like this. That's when I realized, 'Oh those films [they] created and really had an impact on the culture of America and surf culture especially."
As Weaving read with Brigette, the two hit it right off. "I'm in Santa Monica and reading opposite Brigette and just gave them [our] best shot," she said. "It was really daunting trying to fill Bill and Ted's shoes, but still trying to make a character different from doing an impression of them that was the tricky part in that respect." Lundy-Paine required little prep, which caught Solomon off guard. "I mean for myself; personally, I had never seen a movie," she said. "I didn't want to see it before I went in, because I just wanted to like kind of going blind. I watched like a two-second clip of like what their voices sounded like and then went in it was just as goofy as possible in the second time got to read with Sam."
Smith started asking the cast and crew their favorite moments on set. Sadler, who reprises his role as Death from Bogus Journey (1991), first chimed in. "The very first scene that I did on Face the Music I was supposed to be doing. I'm playing hopscotch by myself and cheating. I tripped, and I caught myself on my Bentley," he recalled. "I sprained my wrists, and I thought this is a disaster. I'm off to such a great start tonight. The really fun moment though, was when Alex and Keanu when we finally got. We're reunited on-screen, and then I just went 'You know it was just gangbusters from there.'"
Weaving agreed about it being special seeing the three of them together again, but also added growing up she remembered seeing Reeves in his roles as John Wick and as Neo in The Matrix beating up on her uncle Hugo Weaving. "I think actually watching those three have that very special felt almost intimate that was really touching and incredible," she said. "I felt so lucky to be [behind the scenes] seeing that. Then I think a close second is the first scene of the film. Brigette and I are watching our 'fathers.' I never looked so hard also just like seeing Keanu Reeves, you know, go from John Wick to just dancing around holding these insane instruments. I'm sorry we can't use this [take], but I was crying with laughter. My character had to be so in love and obsessed with the song [they play], really just swaying and going with it. Oh, my goodness, that was such a highlight because I didn't have to. They act. I could just watch these two incredible actors just go absolutely bananas, oh that was fun."
When it came to Winter, shooting became more grueling a process in Face the Music than the previous Bill & Ted films. "I guess for me, you know, there's a couple, but the first week the movie was really hard physically," he said." It's fun, that's a good thing. It's not all a negative thing, but it was you know, we're older and there the script was more even more physical than the first two for Keanu and myself especially so. It was super physical, and I remember maybe about halfway through week one, I think we're shooting out to give stuff away. We're shooting one of the iterations of our former selves, and I just remember you know the whole kind of family is there. All these people have known most of my life, and you know, Keanu and I were kind of getting ourselves at the speed after all this rehearsing. I just remember we got into the characters. It's the sort of rocker characters that we play in this one sequence, and we just kind of like went off."
Reeves closed out, saying that working on Bill & Ted is a very unique experience. "I can't feel or laugh or do anything like the way that working on Bill and Ted does," he said. "Working with Alex, [nothing else I do] exists anywhere else in the world for me, so [I] like to partner up and to work on the craft side of it. Then [we] get to play these characters that Chris and Ed created and be their children. There's no other place that I can laugh like this and to again to the craft and then to play these characters just there's I mean there are a few scenes that stand out in a lot of sense actually, but it's like that every day." Bill & Ted Face the Music comes to theaters and SVOD on September 1.