TV HITS MAGAZINE
Early 1992

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"Bill is Excellent"
Alex Winter

Although Alex Winter loves playing loopy Bill in the Bill and Ted adventures, he?s quite different in real life.  Instead of running around screaming "Excellent!" and playing air guitars, he likes Bugs Bunny, rock music and making his own films.  He?s also quite stunned by the Bill and Ted success story.

"When we were making the original Bill and Ted?s Excellent Adventure, we thought it was really funny and fun, but I just didn?t think it would catch on the way it did.  We thought America wasn?t ready for dweebs like Bill and Ted."  Alex Winter is sitting in the swank Loews Hotel in Los Angeles, and sounds pretty surprised as he thinks back to the first Bill and Ted film.

Was that success one of the reasons why he and Keanu decided to make the sequel?  "For me personally, I just felt I could do a better job.  I felt like there were too many limitations put on us for the first one because of things like money, the script and too many producers," Alex groans.  "As far as I was concerned, I felt the film was a great idea that wasn?t beautifully executed."

Apart from those little gripes, Alex had a great time making the film, although the original auditions were a horrible experience.  "They were a nightmare.  Someone would come out and say, ?OK, you can go home? and I was like, ?Does that mean I don?t have the job?? and they?d say ?No, it just means you can go home and these guys keep auditioning?.  It was hellish."  Things weren?t all bad, though.  "Keanu and I happened to be auditioned together and in the really early stages we just clicked really well.  The relationship is pretty much just the chemistry between us."

So how different is Bill in Bill and Ted?s Bogus Journey from what he was in Bill and Ted?s Excellent Adventure?  "Well, I wanted to almost wipe the slate clean and start him from scratch.  I felt there was just so much further I could take the character, and I thought he could be much funnier."  Alex wasn?t exactly keen to make a sequel, though.  "Keanu and I were both real hesitant about making a sequel but, a couple of years ago, when they started kicking around the idea, they got us all together.  We just decided to do it, so the guys went and wrote the story."

After all that, Alex reckons Bill and Ted?s Bogus Journey is a much better film than the original (partly because he and Keanu wrote some of their own dialogue).  "In the first one, Bill and Ted had the excuse of living at home, being at school, and somehow fitting in because of that."  Alex takes a deep breath, then continues.  "But now we find them holding down part-time jobs, trying to get a band together and living in an apartment," giggles Alex.  "It?s completely hopeless and they?re more pathetic this time which, in turn, makes it funnier.  Bill is excellent!"

As Bill and Ted spend a lot of their time in Hell, where horrible hellish things happen to them, there are loads of spook special effects.  "It wasn?t as difficult as the first film because there was a lot of blue screen stuff in that" (when actors stand in front of a blue screen and another scene is projected onto that).

One thing Alex doesn?t think is at all funny is the Bill and Ted cartoon.  "We did the voices for the cartoon but I don?t think it?s great.  I don?t think it?s that good at all, actually (Oh dear! - Ed.), but it was really important for me and Keanu to get together again.  We had to try to get the same momentum going before we did the sequel."  And what does he think of the TV series which is currently being screened in America using different actors as Bill and Ted?  "Avoid it at all costs.  I mean, that?s for the record, man, that thing?s awful!  You can?t imagine how far off base they are with the characters, it just blew my mind."

Thankfully, Bill is still playing an air guitar and yelling "Bodacious" non-stop, but is that why Alex likes the character so much?  "Yeah, I find those types of characters really funny.  I mean it wasn?t just, ?I want to play someone stupid.?  I found Bill a potentially funny character.  Really, it?s less about his stupidity and more just a guy struggling in a really difficult world, trying to get something which he has very little chance of achieving.  Bill?s just like Bugs Bunny."

And if Alex could travel back in time like Bill, where would he go?  "Probably the ?20s or ?30s, when people like Salvador Dali (mad and eccentric artist) were throwing rocks at people and burning Christmas trees."

So, off-screen, is Alex a heavy metal-loving madman like Bill?  "Well, I like rock music, but heavy metal music is kind of a vague term.  There are some bands I like, but I?ve never been part of the whole hair thing.  Heavy metal was the biggest-selling music in the country when Bill and Ted came out, so it just hit."

At the moment Alex is working on his own project.  "I?m writing a film with a friend of mine.  We did a show called The Idiot Box for MTV, which we wrote and directed.  We?re doing this film for a studio here that hopefully we?re gonna make in the Fall" (i.e. the autumn).  So what?s it all about then?  "It?s called Freekz and it?s about a Brat Pack actor who goes to South America and gets turned into a freak," laughs Alex.  "He ends up on a freak farm and gets turned into a freak by a toxic chemical."

And any chance of Alex, Corey Haim and Keifer Sutherland teaming up for a sequel to The Lost Boys?  "Hopefully, any idea of that has died," announces Alex.  "That?s a movie which shouldn?t be made again.  I don?t see the point, other than for financial reasons, but I must say, I think they are planning a sequel."  So will we see another Bill and Ted adventure?  "Yeah, I think a middle-aged Bill and Ted would be really funny," giggles Alex.  "That could be next."

Many thanks to Nicolette for providing us with this article!!


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