The duo enjoyed playing these characters just for fun, spending about a year fleshing out their ideas for them. Matheson said they “would just talk on the phone as Bill and Ted. We would write letters as Bill and Ted. We just loved them. They were just really fun to be, long before we ever thought of putting them in a movie or anything like that. We just enjoyed them.”
While their performances as Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted ‘’Theodore’’ Logan had been largely confined to their improv group and one another, Solomon said, “Once we did it in front of an audience at UCLA. We took questions as Bill and Ted and basically everything was either ‘excellent’ or ‘bogus’ as far as I remember.”
Matheson and Solomon later explored the idea of including Bill and Ted within a movie they were scripting but the characters would have just been a small part of a larger framework. That was until Matheson received some sage advice from a legendary writer.
“We were going to write kind of a skit movie with a bunch of different skits because we had just had a bunch of silly ideas. And Bill and Ted was going to be one of the pieces. It was going to be an eight or ten-minute piece,” Matheson explained.“It was actually my dad — who was Richard Matheson, who wrote I Am Legend and (The Incredible) Shrinking Man — and I sort of ran it by him and he said, ‘You could make a whole movie out of that.’ And so we started looking at it that way.”
The late Richard Matheson was the author of many classic sci-fi, horror and fantasy novels and short stories. His works were adapted for the big and small screen, including The Twilight Zone, Real Steel, The Legend of Hell House, The Box, Stir of Echoes, Somewhere in Time, and What Dreams May Come. His seminal post-apocalyptic novel I Am Legend has been filmed for the silver screen three times, most recently in 2007 with Will Smith.
While the younger Matheson and his writing partner Solomon may have been the first to “play” Bill and Ted, they would not, of course, end up portraying their creations on the big screen. Solomon said “it was hard for us to imagine who would take the characters over and we were not involved in the casting process or anything.” Solomon recalled an anecdote about how they found out who did end up landing the title roles.
“We were in Arizona when the movie was about to shoot and we were in line at McDonald’s and we were actually complaining to each other, ‘I bet whoever they cast won’t be able to do it the way we hoped,’” Solomon said. “And then there are these two guys in front of us at McDonald’s just goofing off and talking to each other. And Chris and I are like, ‘Now those should be the people that play Bill and Ted!’ And then we ended up on set for the first rehearsal and it was Alex and Keanu [who were the same guys from McDonald’s]. Unbelievable.”
Bill and Ted Face the Music First Look
A sequel nearly three decades in the waiting, Bill and Ted Face the Music will open in theaters and on VOD on September 1.
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