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Keanu Reeves’ cinema before he was an action star

Today, it is impossible not to associate Keanu Reeves to the genre of action. Movies like “The Matrix”, or the recent “John Wick” trilogy (which has two more stories on the way) put it in the center of the scene for fans of these productions. However, his career began in other spaces, with films much smaller but just as effective, such as “My private world”, by Gus Van Sant, or the two “Bill and Ted” movies. It was the “Bill and Ted” saga that almost left him out of “Limit Point” since, according to its screenwriter, Peter Iliff, no one saw him as an action star.

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One of those responsible for this franchise, which premiered its third part in 2020, was David L. Snyder. The production designer had been called up for the first part, even with “Blade Runner” on his resume, but decided to turn it down. Years later, he was called again and that is how he joined “The amazing journey of Bill and Ted”, a film that this year celebrates its two decades of life and is considered the best of the saga.

Snyder He recalled how was the story behind this shoot that not only fills him with pride because “it was a success”, but also allowed him to meet one of the most important comedians in history, George Carlin. In dialogue with REALPOLITIK, he told how was the process to make this film, and talked about what was the third film, in which he did not work but did want to see.

RP.- How did you get to the second “Bill and Ted” movie?

I had the meeting and I read the script (of the first “Bill and Ted”) with the English castle and all that. I asked them how much the budget was, and I declined because it seemed to me that they did not have enough money for me to do a good job. The reason they gave me the next movie was because the producer, Scott KroopfHe called me up and said, “We want you to do ‘Bill and Ted 2’.” By the way, I liked the first one, I found it very funny. He said, “This time we have money, come and make the movie.”

RP.- How was the construction of the sets?

We built a lot of sets in the studio, but the studios they chose weren’t the right ones for what they did. So, I put together half of the set, and the rest is an extension that was done with computer animation. By that time they began to have the ability to do that. They put together a visual effects company from scratch for this movie so we had the best of the best. It was all the people he knew from “Blade Runner.”

RP.- What do you remember about the scenes of hell?

All the nightmare sets were built with forced perspective. When there is something written, it is easy for me to transform words into images. Then they told me, “Okay, they go to hell.” But they never said anything about forced perspective. That decision was mine. It is very difficult to build those sets, because as you decrease the perspective, the floor has to go up and the ceiling has to go down. It was a lot of work for the construction department. I remember the day they brought a company to do the carpeting and the stairs, it was a private company, which was not from the studio. They were very confused.

RP.- What do you think of William Sadler’s work as La Muerte?

It is magnificent. We are from the same town in New York. He told me, and now I guess everyone knows, that when he auditioned for the role, he did an Eastern European accent that no one had asked him to do. I think that made him get the part. I thought it was fantastic.

When Bill and Ted die, who are on the bottom, we did everything black and white on camera. The makeup, the wardrobe. It was all black and white, real. Afterwards, visual effects were made to improve it, but we started with real images. That was fun.

RP.- The machines for traveling in time are telephone booths. Did you think about changing them for this sequel?

It was written in the script, we never changed it, but we did build the phone booths. We didn’t use one from the first movie because a long time had passed. We build one and add some things to it that are different. Ultimately, we had more money and it is a movie that looks better. Not because of me or someone else, but because there was a lot of money.

RP.- What did you think of the sequel?

I found it cute, yes. I paid for it, I bought it. I wanted to give them money. I thought it was good, it’s great. It is a little different from ours, because the images are all made by computer. In mine, we used animation to make the sets bigger, to enlarge them. They do that since silent movies. They paint backgrounds, glasses. They hang thumbnails in the foreground … Those techniques. That was all animation. I think it was good, it makes me happy that they did it. I’m sure there is going to be a collectible version of all three movies now, but that’s okay because it’s good for everyone. The actors are going to be paid royalties. (www.REALPOLITIK.com.ar)

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