Bill and Ted. They’ve been the story from the beginning, two most excellent best friends destined and foretold to save the world through the power of music.
But they’re not the whole story. And maybe they never were.
Spoilers below for Bill & Ted Face the Music.
The first voices we hear in the third entry of the Bill & Ted franchise are not our heroes’ — at least, not those heroes. They are new heroes, Bill and Ted’s daughters Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) and Thea (Samara Weaving), speaking lovingly of their radical dadicals. Billie and Thea, like their fathers, love music — but where Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan were musicians with no skill, their children are skilled in knowledge to an encyclopedic degree. And that is how, before we hear it in the film, we know as an audience they are the Preston and Logan of lore, the two who will unite the world.
Lundy-Paine and Weaving bring Billie and Thea to life with a respectful degree of similarity while also being their own characters, not pure impression.
“Bridge and I hung out a lot. We didn’t want to do like an impersonation of Bill and Ted but it started with the writers,” Weaving tells SYFY FANGRRLS. “Chris Madison and Ed Solomon really wrote very rich characters for us to work with.”
Both actors utilized their bodacious forefathers *guitar sting* to pick up on their physicality, but really, it was an organic shift.
“Obviously we picked up a lot of their mannerisms but that was something that was always evolving. And also you put the costumes on, and you start saying ‘Excellent,’ and then all of a sudden there you go,” Lundy-Paine said. “It’s like a magical moment.”
For most, it’s easy to imagine the pressure the two actors must feel, what with taking on such an iconic pair. Luckily, they were spared — neither Lundy-Paine nor Weaving had seen the originals.
“I think if I had grown up with them and I was such huge big, a really big fan before, maybe it would have been a little bit more nerve-wracking,” Weaving says. “I think I’m getting more nervous now that it’s about to come out, and now that I do have the knowledge and I know what an amazing cultural phenomenon it is. The pressure’s on now.”
“I know — now it’s too late, we already did it!” Lundy-Paine jokes. “God!”
One element of note in the film, one that feels rare as to be instantly notable, is that the daughter characters not only genuinely love their dads, they’re righteously stoked on them, while still getting to have their own story.
“I thought it was cool that they have their own adventure of sorts,” Lundy-Paine says. “It’s almost like a spinoff within the franchise because you get to be there with Bill and Ted, and you get to be there with their offspring, and watch how they handle it. The fact is that they couldn’t do it without their daughters but the daughters couldn’t do it without them.”
Reader, it did not occur to me I’d get choked up at a Bill and Ted movie, but I did, and much of it had to do with the parent-child dynamic.
“Father-daughter relationships are always really special for me, you know? And yeah, they’re their dads’ biggest fans and I think that’s really beautiful. And their dads are their daughters’ biggest fans,” Weaving says. “And with Jayma and Erinn as the moms, like it was a family unit. It’s just good fun, and it’s a great escapism, and everything’s very positive which I think is a great film to watch in times like these.”
That’s right — it’s not just dads and daughters. Playing the roles of the princesses from the original films, Erinn Hayes and Jayma Mays bring their well-worn comedic skills to the film. And their movie-children are big fans.
“Geniuses! They’re so funny. I’m just in love with both of them,” Lundy-Paine says. “I went back and watched a lot of their work afterwards and they are just brilliant comedians. Both of them have such a special brand of humor, of complete control, complete irony, and absolute class.”
Alas, being women and nonbinary people entering what was previously considered a male-dominant franchise brings with it its own kind of preparation. But the two actors are ready for what comes from that all-too-common certain kind of audience member who gets enraged by inclusion in “their” movies.
“I would say, ‘I hear you, I feel you, it’s scary. It’s scary to have your power taken away. But breathe, it’s going to be OK,'” Lundy-Paine says. “‘And this is how everyone else feels all the time. So just enjoy the movie as best you can. And maybe at the end, your mind will be expanded just a little bit.'”
Expand your mind with Bill & Ted Face the Music, out today on VOD.