Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
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Credit: MGM

Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are most excellent in original, 1986 Bill & Ted audition tape

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Aug 18, 2020, 12:33 PM EDT

Few genre characters have been as instantly recognizable to a generation as the time-hopping goofballs Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted Theodore Logan. From their start in 1989's Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter coined catchphrases and established a rapport that wormed its way into even the coldest heart — how could anyone hate these most excellent dudes? Now the tapes from the duo's audition have hit the internet, letting fans in on the ground floor of the bromance before the pair had even secured the roles.

Ahead of the first film in the franchise, director Stephen Herek and writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon's Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, the actors not only needed to prove they were right for the parts, but that they were right for each other. There's no separating Bill & Ted from the title, after all. So it's a good thing they were already Wyld Stallyns from day one.

Take a look:

These clips — starting with a t-shirt vs. Van Halen vs. instrument debate among the band members — were from 1986 and showcase the silliness, time travel, and air guitar that fans could come to love.

"There were lots of people auditioning," an on-set source told The Daily Mail. "Keanu, from the beginning it was clear that this guy was head and shoulders above the rest."

"Then Alex and Keanu kind of picked each other, they found each other in the big waiting room on day one and they started hanging out together, taking lunch together and they became buddies," the source continued. Obviously the chemistry was there — as seen in the video, of course — but hearing about their connection over 30 years later is fascinating: "Keanu was the leader and Alex followed, they ad-libbed a lot and really vibed together."

The pair went on to star in a sequel together, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, and will next be seen reprising their iconic characters in the franchise's third film: Bill & Ted Face the Music, which hits On Demand and theaters on Aug. 28.