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Alex Winter called on an old friend to help him out with his new documentary, Deep Web (which premieres at the SXSW Film Festival this weekend). The movie focuses on Silk Road, the infamous online black-marketplace whose owner was arrested in 2013 on charges ranging from drug trafficking to money laundering. It’s the 49-year-old director’s latest film about web culture, and luckily, he knew someone just as interested in the subject he was: Keanu Reeves, Winter’s former costar from their Bill & Ted glory days.
“He and I always share whatever projects we’re working on,” Winter told Yahoo Movies. "He started watching the earliest cuts of this movie a year ago, and was just super into it.” Reeves was so entranced by the subject, he was eventually drafted as the film’s narrator. ”It’s really funny, because I asked him and I could tell tell he was waiting for me to ask. Because he was like, ‘Yeah. Duh.’"
Related: EPIX Documentary Investigates the Arrest of Ross Ulbricht, the Alleged “Dread Pirate Roberts” (Yahoo Finance)
Winter and Reeves have been close dudes since starring in the beloved 1989 comedy Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and its 1991 sequel, Bogus Journey. As with the long-gestating Ghostbusters reboot(s) that finally got greenlit, reports about a Bill & Ted threequel have been swirling for years. Winter, who retired from acting in 1993 after the sci-fi comedy Freaked, has an active filmmaking career — his last movie was the well-received Napster doc Downloaded — which means that he every time he releases a new doc, he’s inevitably drilled about the fate of the franchise.
As for the latest update? “We’re really close. We’re just about there,” Winter said, before cautioning: “In Hollywood parlance, [that] means we’ll either be shooting soon, or it’s never going to happen.”
Asked if he’s sick of the obligatory Bill & Ted questions every time he does press, he responds, “We’re trying to get the movie made, so how could we be sick of it? It’s really been us driving the whole thing, me and Keanu and [writers] Chris [Matheson] and Ed [Solomon]. So we’re producing it and we’re actively trying to get it made. We’re not tired of it, but I think for our fans, we are eager to stop talking about and actually shoot the damn thing.”
Winter and Reeves in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Winter said that even though he no longer pursues acting jobs (“I had been acting since I was 9, so it’s this weird thing I’d been doing since I was a little kid and I had never taken it seriously”), he would of course reprise the role Wyld Stallyn Bill S. Preston, Esquire.
For this week, though, Winter’s attention is focused solely on bringing attention to the issues addressed in Deep Web, which will premiere on EPIX later this year. Winter is making the publicity rounds with Lynn Ulbricht, whose son Ross Ulbricht is at the center of the case against Silk Road. In February, the 30-year-old entrepreneur was convicted of seven counts of narcotics and other charges for his role in creating the Silk Road site, which earned an estimated $200 million in untraceable bitcoins by selling illegal drugs. Deep Web explores, among other things, what precedents the case sets in law governing the digital world.
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Photos: CBS TV, Orion