Exclusive: Keanu Reeves’ Management Initially Shot Down Bill & Ted 3
Orion Pictures provided ComingSoon.net with the chance to speak with Bill & Ted Face the Music co-writer Ed Solomon, who also co-wrote the first two films with Chris Matheson. Now that the film is out today and earning some most excellent reviews, we wanted to know from Solomon why there wasn’t a third film in the iconic franchise much sooner. While the second film Bogus Journey was not as warmly received by critics or at the box office (it grossed $2 million less than the first on more than double the budget), the duo was still massively popular. It turns out the powers that be were very reluctant to dip back into the Bill & Ted well, especially Keanu Reeves’ management.
ComingSoon.net: Were you guys ever approached in the first few years following “Bogus Journey” to do another one? Was there another “Bill and Ted” movie considered between “Bogus Journey” and “Face the Music” that wasn’t a midlife crisis movie?
Ed Solomon: No, we were not approached to do another movie. In fact, any approachment we got was to not do another movie. At one point, I floated the idea loosely with Keanu’s manager, Erwin Stoff, and he was like, “No, there will never be another movie of ‘Bill and Ted.’ Keanu will never be Ted again. Get out of my office,” is what he said. No, we honestly didn’t think there’d ever be even a market for it. We had no idea when “Bogus Journey” was over that 10 years later it would be more popular than it was in 1991, and that 20 years later, it would be exponentially more popular than it was, you know, in 2001. It never would’ve crossed our mind. And it wasn’t really until probably four years ago where I flew from New York to LA to sit with the board of MGM and go, “You guys don’t understand. Everywhere I go on the planet the only movie people actually want a sequel for is ‘Bill and Ted.’ They don’t give a shit about another ‘Men in Black’ sequel. They don’t give a shit about a ‘Charlie’s Angels’ sequel. They could care less about another ‘X-Men.’ They don’t even care about another ‘Now You See Me.’ The only movie that sparks people’s excitement is ‘Bill and Ted.’” And they’re like, “The numbers don’t prove it.” And we’re like, “It’s not about the numbers. The numbers are from 1989 and 1991. You’ve got to trust me.” I was begging them. Finally, finally, thanks to social media, they were able to view a different type of metric and go, “Huh. Maybe there is interest after all.”
CS: And Keanu maybe stopped being afraid that he was going to be stereotyped as that guy, as Ted, as the “whoa” guy.
Solomon: You know, I think you’re right. I feel like there may have been on Keanu’s management’s part — and I’m not sure about this — but I’m just guessing this. Nobody ever said it. But there may have been a feeling like he was having to play against Ted for a long time. I think his manager actually did tell me that. I can’t remember whether Erwin told me that or if I just am imputing that into my own memory. I don’t really know. But I do think there was a sense that he was worried about being pigeonholed. But then maybe after a few “John Wicks” he was like, “Hey, I think I gotta go in the other direction.” I don’t know.
Bill & Ted Face the Music centers on Bill S. Preston (Alex Winter) and Ted “Theodore” Logan (Keanu Reeves), who are now fathers and have yet to fulfill their rock ‘n’ roll destinies. Their lives change when they are visited by a messenger from the future who warns them that only their song can save life as we know it.
Joining Winter and Reeves are Samara Weaving (Ready or Not) and Brigette Lundy-Paine (Atypical) as Bill and Ted’s daughters, respectively. The film will also feature Anthony Carrigan (Barry), Jillian Bell (Workaholics), Kristen Schall (Toy Story 4), Holland Taylor (Gloria Bell), Kid Cudi, Erinn Hayes, Jayma Mays, and Beck Bennet. William Sadler is also set to reprise his role as Death alongside franchise returners Amy Stoch and Hal London Jr. Newcomer.
Bill & Ted Face the Music is now in theaters and on Premium VOD!