Hey guys, Jana here,
Every actor with any success has that one certain film that locks their position in the industry as a solid player and worthy of being called up to the show. Deciding which picture is the defining moment in their careers is always up for discussion. Tonight I’m talking about Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter. These two names have been paired since 1989 when they posed as Bill & Ted on an Excellent Adventure. In recent interviews, Winter gave out some details about the highly anticipated third film in the bodacious franchise! Before, we get to those, let’s talk about their careers.
Keanu Reeves has a name that automatically links to any number of films, if more than half of you say it isn’t ‘The Matrix‘, I’m just calling bullshit right now. I see Neo in my head when I hear Reeves‘ name. I don’t believe that’s the film that made him a star either and neither should you. If you make that claim you’ve missed some epic performances and must commit at least a weekend that is devoted to the films before ‘The Matrix‘. You’ll thank me later. You’re welcome.
Reeves has been in the film game since 1984, according to IMDB. Just like most other actors, had a few bit parts here and there before he he tapped into the vein of gold that big Hollywood blockbusters pour so freely from. In contention for the breakthrough film that made Keanu a household name are two films, ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure‘ or ‘Speed‘. For my money, I say it was the Bill & Ted flick. There are some that think he made a splash with that movie, but ‘Point Break‘ was what made him a star. Then there is the fiscally minded fan thinking that ‘Speed‘ was of highest importance as it yielded a larger cash crop.
To those that claim it was Bill & Ted, we agree, you have a place in my heart and it’s possible I will name my dog after one of you, some day, maybe. The ‘Point Break‘ crowd, I can see where you’re coming from. Bill & Ted appealed to a particular brand of viewer and that didn’t always include adult film-goers, where Patrick Swayze co-starring in the surfer flick brought in a much different crowd. You’re wrong, but I get your point. Now for the people thinking it was ‘Speed‘. Let me give you something to think about. ‘Speed‘ was most definitely a breakthrough moment, but not for Reeves, but for his co-star, Sandra Bullock. The runaway bus hit theaters in 1994. Before that point, you would have had to have missed his roles in ‘Parenthood‘ (1989), the aforementioned ‘Point Break‘ (1991), ‘Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey‘ (1991) and ‘Dracula‘ (1992) plus other films and even a spot in a Paula Abdul video.
Granted, in ‘Parenthood‘ he was quite Ted-like. He had some great moments in that one and gave us a line I’ll never forget from that movie: “You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, or drive a car. Hell, you need a license to catch a fish! But they’ll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father.” Sound logic from the character named Tod. Reeves changed his image in ‘Point Break‘ and was one of the leads playing opposite Swayze. This was a big summer movie and an extremely important character to place in the hands of a character most known for basically sounding like a ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle‘. Not the unholy Turtles that have been stinking up cinema this summer, but the real TMNT. Then there was ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula‘ where Reeves took on the mantle of the key character Jonathan Harker. He was out of the wading pool and well into shark-infested waters along fellow thespians Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder and Anthony Hopkins. I grew up with the career of Reeves as a background for middle school movie-nights and the best job for a high school kid that loved movies, working in a movie rental shop that I only had to technically ‘work’ when a customer came in. Other than that I got to sit around and watch movies all night…and get paid for it! Life was grand.
Also, the small-screen attempt at tackling the comic ‘Constantine‘ has a hell of a lot to live up to. Reeves was cast perfectly. Sorry, Matt Ryan, but you’re already playing second fiddle. Considering the antiheroes appearance was based on the singer Sting, I still think Reeves is a better fit.
Now for the fame argument for Alex Winter. This one will be much shorter, stay with me kids. Winter had all of 3 roles before he hit the big screen as Marko in 1987’s ‘The Lost Boys‘. It would still be 2 years before he joined The Wyld Stallyns with Reeves. So which was the film that should have launched his career? ‘The Lost Boys‘ was first, but he played a minor role, and the movie made over $32 million. He had a lead role and became a household name as the best friend Bill, to Reeves‘ Ted. My vote goes to Bill & Ted. He blended well with the never grow old, stay young forever, Peter Pan syndromed Cali vamps, but he got half of the top billing for trying to pass History class.
Since then, his film appearances haven’t been that steady. Winter, did co-star in last year’s thriller ‘Grand Piano‘ working with Elijah Wood and John Cusack. That movie was incredible! As a classically trained pianist, I was psyched to see someone else handle the stress of mastering a difficult piece of work and performing it perfectly. My performances never came with the repercussions that Wood’s character had to deal with for missing a note, but I had sweaty palms watching him go through it all the same. There’s a building climax that is just about palpable from the couch and is truly an original film and even though the ending wasn’t all I hoped for, I was still adoring the fact that I had just experienced a totally unique story.
Now for the big news Winter has about the long-awaited ‘Bill & Ted 3‘. Of course Reeves and Winter are coming back to star, who else could pull this off? That’s right. No one. We’ve waited 23 years for a new hit from the franchise and apparently has been in the making for 23 years. From all reports it sounds like Winter and Reeves have been missing their characters as much as we have. The last time Bill & Ted hit the silver screen was in 1991.
According to the Guardian, “[Bill & Ted] will be 40-something and it’s all about Bill and Ted grown up, or not grown up. It’s really sweet and really fucking funny.” “But it’s a Bill & Ted movie, that’s what it is. It’s for the fans of Bill & Ted. It fits very neatly in the [series]. It’s not going to feel like a reboot. The conceit is really funny: What if you’re middle-aged, haven’t really grown up and you’re supposed to have saved the world and maybe, just maybe, you kinda haven’t?”
“There’s many versions of ourselves in this movie,” he continues. “[It’s] answering the question: ‘What happened to these guys?’ They’re supposed to have done all this stuff, they weren’t the brightest bulbs on the tree, what happened 20 years later? To answer that question in a comedic way felt rich with possibility.” Winter continued, “The thing we had going against us is that word got out,” he explains. “That was kind of a bummer. It just takes a long time to put a movie together. Now we’re having to build this thing in public, which is fine. I just feel bad [the fans] have to get dragged through this long, boring, protracted process.”
“Me and Keanu and [original writers] Chris [Matheson] and Ed [Solomon] are all very close and have remained close over the years,” says Winter. “We’d be having dinner and we’d be like, ‘is there a point? Is there a way in?’ We’d kick an idea around and go no and we would leave it alone for a bunch of years. I guess about four years ago we had an idea together that we thought was pretty great. I think it was because so much time had gone by that it was great.”
“It was really just the four of us and we were really very measured about it. It took time to construct the idea, it took Chris and Ed time to build the first draft. Then we put a producer together and got a director [Galaxy Quest helmer Dean Parisot]. We’ve been working on drafts for the last couple of years. The script’s been finished for a while, but comedy is so specific. We’re in that world where producers are on, financiers are on and we’re just working and reworking the script.”
Bottom lined, the gist is this: There WILL be a ‘Bill & Ted 3‘, but we are going to have to wait for it. That’s not a problem for me. We’re from a time where there was no internet, a computer filled an entire room and could be neatly stored on a cell-phone today. We played outside, rented VCR’s and the tapes to go with them. We had no video-on-demand, no pirated copies being sold surreptitiously by someone with connections. We had no problems with waiting because we didn’t have any other choice, but we had imaginations back then to keep us entertained.