After 29 years, Bill & Ted are finally back, but this time, their daughters are also ready for an Excellent Adventure.
The end of 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey introduced us to babies referred to as “Little Bill” and “Little Ted” – because of course these two best friends would name their kids after each other. As it turns out, those kids’ full names are Wilhelmina “Billie” Logan and Theodora “Thea” Preston and we meet them in Bill & Ted Face the Music as young adults played by Brigette Lundy-Paine and Samara Weaving. In the film, the two witness their dads be whisked off to the future by Kelly (Kristen Schaal) and, knowing their family’s history with time travel, soon embark on their own parallel adventure – determined to bring together incredible musicians from throughout time to serve as a band for their dads to finally perform the song that will unit humanity and save reality.
Fandom spoke to Lundy-Paine (Known for The Glass Castle and Netflix’s Atypical) and Weaving (who starred in last year’s acclaimed Ready or Not and will be seen in 2021 as Scarlet in the GI Joe film Snake Eyes) – along with more of the Face the Music cast and creators — about depicting the children of such iconic characters, working alongside Reeves and Winter, and if we might see Billie & Thea again…
THE RIGHT DUO
A key component to Bill & Ted is of course the chemistry Reeves and Winter share, with the two having found a true kinship during their own auditions for the first film. Similarly, Lundy-Paine and Weaving said they could feel they were a good combo, with Lundy-Paine explaining, “Sam and I are both pretty nerdy weirdos… We’re both just ducks. Two tiny little ducks. We got along very well.”
Said Weaving, of Lundy-Paine, “I respect them as an actor and a performer. We really got along. Brigette is so much fun and so quirky and we hung out so much during the rehearsal period. We’d go around to each other’s houses and hang out. It kind of sucks that Covid is here because we’d be doing all this press together but unfortunately we can’t be.”
Bill & Ted Face the Music director Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest) said it was quickly clear this was the right pairing once Weaving and Lundy-Paine auditioned, remarking, “Brigette and Sam were a miracle, as far as I’m concerned. In the casting process, there were hundreds of people coming through. And then it was just, like, ‘What?’ when we saw them. And it happened late in the process. We were just astounded by both of them, then we put them together and were even more astounded.”
THEIR FATHERS’ DAUGHTERS…
So how do you approach playing the daughters of characters as specific as Bill & Ted? Ed Solomon, the co-creator of Bill & Ted, who once more wrote the screenplay for the third film with Chris Matheson, said, “Sam and Brigette were instantly perfect and though it was a challenge for them to find a balance between what is their own original voice and how much do they take from their parents, we knew from the moment they were cast that they were the ideal choices. Not only do they look just like Alex and Keanu, but they had that perfect combination of seeming like they were their actual daughters while also feeling like they were their own people.”
Said Weaving, “It was very much in the script that they were these weirdos; they’re definitely related to Bill and Ted. However they have this well of knowledge, they’re geniuses, but still keeping with that optimism and naivety that Bill & Ted have.”
When it came to Lundy-Paine’s famous onscreen dad and evoking him, Lundy-Paine said, “I think a lot of what I loved in Keanu’s performance was with body language. And he has such a specific way of holding his arms, like slightly out from the body. But it really felt like these characters are specifically like commedia dell’arte, in a way. And so it was like once you get the physicality down, there’s such a freedom and playfulness and just making the character kind of do whatever needs to happen. And really a lot of Bill & Ted, and Billie & Thea as well, is about being incredibly challenged and doing immediate problem-solving.”
Once Weaving and Lundy-Paine found themselves actually working on set with Reeves and Winter, Weaving said, “It was much fun. It was so much fun watching them. It was so surreal and wonderful watching them actually be Bill & Ted.”
…BUT ALSO THEIR MOTHERS’ DAUGHTERS
Much like Bill & Ted, Billie & Thea have a specific way in which they speak, but Weaving and Lundy-Paine noted they also kept in mind that their characters’ moms (played in Face the Music by Jayma Mays and Erinn Hayes) are in fact Princesses from 15th century England. As Weaving explained, “We were playing around with and researching [old English] language and seeing exactly what was part of their lexicon. I think there might be a couple of little sayings that they may have gotten from their mothers.”
As Lundy-Paine put it, they felt with their mothers’ influence, ‘They’d be sort of posh. Something would sneak in every once in a while. And so we would just throw out the weirdest s**t! I don’t know if that made it into the movie, but we kept trying to sneak in ‘codswallop’ because we just love that word.”
Said Solomon, “One of the coolest feelings was looking at Sam and Brigette and Alex & Keanu and Jayma & Erinn all together and thinking ‘This feels right!’ We all are all here; me & Chris, Alex & Keanu, [producer] Scott Kroopf, the original family, so to speak, and we’ve created this new family that’s this fictional family that feels really right to us.”
Willian Sadler, returning as Death, said of Lundy-Pane and Weaving, “They were so good. And it’s not an easy thing to do because you can’t just do an imitation of what Alex and Keanu did in previous films. There’s a balance. But I thought they were wonderful. And they were really, really fun to bounce back and forth off of on the set. They were just lovely.”
The Bill & Ted movies include time travel and journeying to the afterlife, and Weaving said she enjoyed the anything-goes feel, remarking, “The tone was very much just have fun and I hope that audiences can see that. I think one thing that sort of bonds the characters is there was such a freedom of where they could go because, as you said, anything goes in the Bill & Ted universe. It’s crazy, unexpected, and totally insane and just the most fun.”
Parisot said that working with Weaving and Lundy-Paine, and on the movie in general, “We just kept finding more colors and more things all the time. It was the most collaborative and the most fun, actually, I’ve had making a movie.”
While Billie & Thea travel many places in the film, Lundy-Paine noted, “So much of it is [filmed using] green screen, so you’re just kind of like in the same place every day, but we felt the ridiculousness of it. So much of it was justworking up that energy in your body, and look, pretty much what acting is is pretending that you’re in these places. But then sometimes we would go out – we had this square in New Orleans set up like an old horse and carriage street, when we go to Vienna to get Mozart. And so sometimes we were doing it in front of this magic and that was really special.”
FURTHER EXCELLENT ADVENTURES?
When it comes to any further Bill & Ted films, Solomon noted that after the labor of love and hard work they put into getting the third film made, ”I think Alex and Keanu are done with Bill Ted.”
Of course, it’s hard not to wonder… could Billie & Thea return? Said Solomon, “That wasn’t the plan with this. This wasn’t [done] to try to launch that.” Still, he remarked, “Brigette and Sam are wonderful. Maybe someone wants to do a movie with Billie & Thea. They could do that if they wanted to.”
All of those who worked on Bill & Ted Face the Music agreed there was definitely not a calculated plan to set up Billie & Thea for their own film, with Parisot explaining, “The danger of it is, it feels sort of ‘Hollywood,’ you know, to build in five different levels so you could keep going. It was fun enough to try to make this one, but it has come up [recently] because people were asking us about it. And I think absolutely those two characters are fantastic and they’re different from Bill & Ted. They share qualities; mostly that they grew up together and are best friends. That’s an unlikely pairing in a movie. You usually see those characters come to blows. Bill & Ted never come to blows on anything. They’re trying to solve things they go through, some consternation, but they’re always in it together. They’re always in it for the long run, and I like that.”
Parisot added that if a Billie & Thea movie did become a possibility, “There’s so much you could do with those two. I mean, they’re phenomenal. It wasn’t the intention, really, but yeah, easily.”
Weaving said for her part, she’d had a couple of “What if? Conversations about a Billie & Thea movie, but “Nothing serious. I guess we’ll see how fans react to this film and go from there but yeah, it would be great. I love Brig so it’d be awesome to work with them again!”
Bill & Ted Face the Music debuts Friday, August 28 in select theaters and on VOD.
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