William Sadler has spoken about his delight at being involved in the forthcoming Bill & Ted reboot, saying that Face The Music contains “the spirit of the original movies”.
Bill & Ted Face the Music will be released on August 21, with original stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter reuniting to play the titular characters nearly 30 years on from their last outing in 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.
Sadler, who has also starred in Die Hard 2 and The Shawshank Redemption, will reprise his Bogus Journey role as the Grim Reaper in the new movie, and the actor spoke to NME this week about his huge excitement for the return of the franchise.
“For years, I kept hearing from Alex and one of the co-writers, Ed Solomon. They kept telling me that [a reboot] was coming and letting me know what stage the script was at,” Sadler said.
“It’s been in the pipeline since 2007 and I was really surprised that it took as long as it did for the powers that be to say ‘OK. That sounds like a good idea. Let’s make a third movie to see where these guys are.'”
Speaking about playing the Grim Reaper once again, Sadler added: “I don’t know if you could tell from watching Bogus Journey, but it was such a giggle to get to put on that Czechoslovakian accent and just be silly. I don’t get a chance to be genuinely silly very often, so it didn’t take any convincing to bring me back.”
Sadler also told NME about how Bill & Ted Face the Music will pay tribute to the late George Carlin, who played Rufus in the first two Bill & Ted movies.
“One of the big hurdles was what do you do with the character of Rufus now that George Carlin has gone? But I honestly think that the writers handled that beautifully in the script and I think audiences will be pleasantly surprised,” Sadler said.
“The spirit of the original movies is all there,” the actor continued about Face The Music. “All the fun came back instantly — not just for me, but for the Keanu and Alex too. My knees aren’t as good and the body is a little creakier, but the minute we put on the make-up and the robes it was as if The Reaper had been trapped in a bottle for 30 years, and as soon as we pulled the cork off he came flying out and started improvising just like I did back in Bogus Journey.”
Sadler says his latest take on the Grim Reaper is much more “mischievous” than it was 30 years ago. “I’m not sure I understand the character any better, but I think I’m much sillier now than I was then and take things more in my stride. I’m a freer, better actor now so it was great to get back into the role with 30 years more experience under my belt.”
Sadler will next star in director Joe Begos’ indie action-horror film VFW. Starring alongside the likes of Stephen Lang, Martin Kove, David Patrick Kelly, Sierra McCormick, Tom Williamson, Travis Hammer, George Wendt and Fred Williamson, the film follows a group of war veterans who are forced to engage with a psychotic drug lord and his deranged, drugged-up disciples when a teenage girl seeks refuge in their local bar having stolen a huge stash of drugs.
“As the cast grew, it just kept getting better and better because we’d all been in the trenches together,” Sadler said about filming VFW. “It was like ‘Old Home Week’ as we’d all sit around in our chairs waiting to shoot with the stories just flying around.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been thrown over a table and up against a wall but it really was great fun to go into battle again. As an actor, as you get older you tend to get cast as someone who works behind a desk or the father of the lead woman or whatever so it was great to get asked to kick some ass again.”
VFW will be premiering at Glasgow FrightFest tomorrow (March 7) and will be available on digital download from March 9. Bill & Ted Face the Music is set to be released on August 21.