It seems like only yesterday I saw Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure on opening weekend at Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kansas. It was glorious…and I still quote the movie to this day.
The film celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2019, and in honor of this most excellent piece of cinema, we’d like to present you with 10 facts about the movie.
But first, check out the original trailer.
1. The duo were born in an improv class
Classmates Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson formed an improv workshop at UCLA. Solomon recalled, “One day, we decided to do a couple of guys who knew nothing about history, talking about history. The initial improv was them studying history, while Ted’s father kept coming up to ask them to turn their music down.”
2. There was originally another character, Bob
Bill, Bob, & Ted? When the skit originated, the guy who played “Bob” wasn’t crazy about it, so Solomon and Matheson got rid of him and stuck with Bill and Ted.
3. Opposite auditions
We all know Keanu Reeves plays Ted and Alex Winter plays Bill, but both actors originally auditioned for the opposite roles. Keanu Reeves remembered, “I got a call saying that I got the part. So I went to the wardrobe fitting… assuming I was playing Bill, and I get there and Alex Winter, who eventually played Bill, went to the wardrobe fitting thinking he was playing Ted. Then we were informed that that wasn’t the case.”
4. Pauly Shore in the mix
Shore, along with hundreds of other actors, auditioned for the role of Ted. Hey, don’t feel too bad for him, he got to be in Encino Man.
5. Not nerdy enough
Reeves and Winter weren’t nerdy enough for the roles, according to co-writer Ed Solomon. He said,
“Bill and Ted were conceived in our minds as these 14-year-old skinny guys, with low-rider bellbottoms and heavy metal T-shirts. We actually had a scene that was even shot, with Bill and Ted walking past a group of popular kids who hate them. But once you cast Alex and Keanu, who look like pretty cool guys, that was hard to believe.”
6. A happy accident
Alex Winter called the casting of the legendary George Carlin “a very happy accident.” Winter added they were originally looking for serious actors at first, “like Sean Connery. And someone had the idea, way after we started shooting, of George. That whole movie was a happy accident. No one thought it would ever see the light of day.”
7. Hard to picture this one
We all know Bill and Ted travel through time in a phone booth, but it was originally supposed to be a van: a 1969 Chevy van to be precise. Warner Bros. showed early interest in the script and folks there thought a time-traveling van sounded too close to the hit Back to the Future. Director Stephen Herek suggested a phone booth because he thought the visuals would be impressive.
Plus, Doctor Who hadn’t really made it in the States yet.
8. The booth is out there
As part of a promotion when the Bill & Ted’s Excellent Video Game Adventure came out in 1991, one lucky winner received the actual phone booth from the film. Reddit tracked down the winner, Kenneth Grayson, in 2011 and he participated in an “Ask Me Anything” Q&A.
9. The script was written in four days
Solomon and Matheson wrote the script in four days…by hand, during meetings at various coffee shops.
10. They’re coming back!
Rumors have been floating around for years that there will be a third film in the series (after 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey) and now it’s official.