William Sadler reflects on comedy, horror, and Death

Keanu Reeves, William Sadler and Alex Winter star in BILL_TED FACE THE MUSIC. Photo Credit: Patti Perret / Orion Pictures
Keanu Reeves, William Sadler and Alex Winter star in BILL_TED FACE THE MUSIC. Photo Credit: Patti Perret / Orion Pictures /
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William Sadler
William Sadler (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images) /

1428 Elm: Let’s move on to Face the Music. I was happy to see the filmmakers did right by Death, and Bill & Ted, as well. In the movie, Death has a rift with Wyld Stallyns, which culminates in a poignant scene with Bill and Ted’s daughters. What was it like to interact with these new characters?

William Sadler: I found the two of them [Brigette Lundy-Paine and Samara Weaving] just lovely to work with. It must’ve been a little intimidating to be young actors and step into the third installment of a franchise. That’s always a difficult thing, because the train’s already left the station, y’know?

We’ve all been riding this bus for years, and you’re the new kids – but they were really delightful to work with. I thought they were just fantastic. I loved the scene where they intercede for their dads, and it’s very moving. They understand the predicament Death finds himself in better than he does.

1428 Elm: The chemistry in that scene was great. And it gets to develop further as you near the end of the film. I liked that.

William Sadler: Thank you. I think, if you get the chemistry right, the audience comes along. They get emotionally caught up in it, along with you.

1428 Elm: I know there’s hesitation when returning to a series after so many years: “Can you recapture the magic?” I think everyone involved in Face the Music did a good job of recapturing the “Bill & Ted magic.”

William Sadler: Fantastic. I’m really glad to hear you say that. That’s always the worry, because you can’t go back and create something for the first time again, because that was the first time. I felt that, as well, when Alex, Keanu, and myself finally got together in the makeup, on the set for the first time in 29 years.

As soon as we started the scene, it was like we’d never stopped. It was like we’d been filming Bogus Journey yesterday, and it was just another scene…[in Death voice:] “What’re you guys doing here?” I’m glad it came across that way, because I wanted it to.

1428 Elm: It was cool to see all those elements come back together so well.

William Sadler: With the pandemic going around the country, I hope people get a chance to see Face the Music safely. First of all, I think America and the world needs this movie right now. It would be a really nice break from all the bad news. And secondly, I hope people get a chance to see it safely. How do you open a movie [during a pandemic] when people can’t get together in a theater?

1428 Elm: My understanding is that they’re going to release it on VOD and in theaters. Maybe a drive-in kind of thing.

William Sadler: Oh, that’d be great! I only went to drive-ins during my childhood; I don’t think we ever went to the movie theater. I remember seeing Ben-Hur at the drive-in.

1428 Elm: Oh, wow.

William Sadler: [jokingly] Yeah, I’m old.

1428 Elm: To what you said, this is the movie 2020 really needs, given how rough of a year it’s been.

William Sadler: Excellent, thank you. I’m really glad to hear that.