10 Things You Might Not Know About BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE

Join as we investigate the strange things afoot at the Circle-K.


1. Bill and Ted began life as a stand-up act performed by Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson, in which the characters would discuss current events without knowing what they were talking about. It originally included a third character named Bob, but the comedian who played him lost interest after a few performances. In early 1987, Solomon and Matheson decided to develop the two characters and adapt them for a screenplay that eventually became Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.

2. In a 1989 interview, Chris Matheson said he didn't intend for Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure to be a science-fiction movie.
"I try to consciously fight it, out of a desire to break away, but maybe I have a predilection toward that because of my dad."
Chris' father is the famous American author and screenwriter Richard Matheson, perhaps best known for I am Legend and his extensive work on The Twilight Zone. The younger Matheson continued...
"[My father's] a great writer and craftsman, and always has suggestions. We were going to write a sketch film, with [the time travel segment] as one of the skits, but my dad said, 'That sounds like a whole movie. And he was right!"


3. Originally as a spec script, the film had the title of "Bill and Ted's Time Van", with the time machine being a 1969 Chevy van. Concerned that the use of a vehicle would be considered too similar to Back to the Future, Solomon and Matheson changed it to a phone booth. Perhaps they'd never heard of Doctor Who?

4. Although the plot of the original screenplay was similar, with Bill & Ted on the verge of failing their history class and threatening to ruin their idea of forming a band together, events in that spec script initiated when the pair borrowed a van from their 28-year-old friend Rufus. While driving the van, and initially unaware of its time traveling ability, the duo end up in Nazi Germany. After some hi-jinks they bring Adolf Hitler back to present day San Dimas, and formulating a plan to pass their history class go on a trip to collect other historical figures.

Hitler was switched out with Napoleon in the final script, and several other segments were dropped entirely, including Bill & Ted meeting Charlemagne (whom they referred to as "Charlie Mangay"), visiting Julius Caesar in the Roman Empire and ending up causing his death, and befriending a caveman in the prehistorical age as to help him invent fire so that they could light up a joint.


5. A longstanding urban legend has it that Keanu Reeves auditioned for Bill and Alex Winter for Ted, but the truth behind that is director Stephen Herek auditioned between 200 and 300 actors for the main roles. During the process he asked all the actors to try for both parts during auditions. So technically they did audition for each others roles, but then so did Pauly Shore, who was among the hundreds of actors considered for the role of Ted, plus River Phoenix, Sean Penn and then-upcoming actor Brendan Fraser who all tried out for Bill

6. Winter said of casting George Carlin as Rufus as a "very happy accident". It came about because Stephen Herek had hoped to cast Eddie Van Halen in the role, especially relevant given the frequency of Van Halen references in the screenplay, but this was not possible because of the low budget for the film (just $6.5 million).

Other musicians/actors who were then considered for the role included Ringo Starr, Roger Daltrey, Sean Connery, and, surprisingly, Charlie Sheen, but with none of them actually being a comedian and all of them completely out of budget, producers Scott Kroopf and Bob Cort suggested George Carlin. He had just finished filming Outrageous Fortune, produced by Kroopf and Cort. They put in a call and were able to get him to complete filming.


7. The Three Most Important People in the utopian society were envisioned to be portrayed by the band members of ZZ Top. Once again, the budget wouldn't run to what they were asking for the role. Solomon had connections to the E Street Band, The Tubes and The Motels, and so pulling on favours managed to get Clarence Clemons, Fee Waybill, and Martha Davis, respectively, for the roles of the Three Most Important People.

8. The initial cut of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure was 2 hours and 25 minutes long. It was pruned significantly to its final 90 minute runtime. One extended scene which hit the cutting room floor included a lengthy choreographed song number that would have been at the start of the film. Beginning with Bill & Ted air-guitaring on their way to school, dancing through the streets and getting bullied by jocks at the bus stop, it was to set the tone for the feature ahead.

Alex Winter found some stills from the filmed version of this scene on an old hard drive and shared them on the Internet in Feb 2020. Proving additional details on its production, Winter believed that Kenny Ortega had been involved in establishing the choreography based on the time period and his recollection, and said that neither he nor Reeves could dance prior to shooting this scene, so itwas rehearsed for roughly an hour a day across several weeks concurrent to other parts of filming.

After all that work it ended up on the cutting room floor!


9. Filming and production had completed on schedule, and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure was set to be released in 1988. However, the original film distributor, DEG, fell into significant debt in late 1987, and by 1988 had filed for bankruptcy. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure could've stayed locked away from the public's eyes. Especially considering that after Stephen Herek attempted to show around the finished film to other distributors and found no interest from any of them. Henek said many of the companies were confused, asking him "Are there kids that really speak like this?"

However, after arranging a test audience and inviting several distributors to the event, the extremely popular reaction from the crowd led to a small bidding war for the distribution rights. In the end, some of the former DEG executives that had ended up at Nelson Entertainment, and along with Orion Pictures, were able to secure new distribution rights for the film for about $1 million.

10. Proving a huge success upon release in February 1989, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure went on to gross $40.5 million against a $6.5 million budget. Cementing the duo in pop culture history, DC Comics published a comic-book adaptation of the film, a Nintendo video game was produced, CBS ran a 1990 animated series which actually featured the voices of Winter, Reeves and Carlin returning to their roles in the film, and in what is perhaps the greatest example of promotional movie tie-in, Bill & Ted got themselves their own short-lived breakfast cereal - Bill & Ted's Excellent Cereal.


Oh, and of course, a theatrical sequel in the form of 1991's Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey,  and an upcoming belated return with Bill & Ted Face the Music...

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