Yes, way! We got to have a most excellent conversation with queer non-binary actor, musician and Waif magazine co-founder Brigette Lundy-Paine (they/them) about starring opposite Keanu Reeves as Ted’s daughter Bille in Bill & Ted Face The Music, on demand and in theatres this Friday August 28th. The Atypical star also appears alongside Samara Weaving who plays Bill’s (Alex Winter) daughter Thea in the film, as they travel through time to help their dads save the world. That’s, like, totally non heinous, dude.
Ahead of the film’s release, The Queer Review’s editor James Kleinmann spoke exclusively with Brigette Lundy-Paine about watching the original Bill & Ted movies for the first time, talking to Keanu Reeves about pop culture (apparently he didn’t know he was in Lil Nas X’s animated Old Town Road video), what they are looking forward to about Atypical season 4, how they navigated coming out as non-binary, using social media to funnel funds and information for social justice causes they believe in and their favourite queer book.
James Kleinmann, The Queer Review: Congratulations on the movie. I was one of those people that had Bogus Journey on VHS and wore out the tape watching it, so I’d been looking forward to this.
Brigette Lundy-Paine: “Oh yeah! We’re family then!”
Happy Birthday for earlier this month. How did you how did you celebrate?
“I had a park party, and I watched a whole season of Peep Show, which is my favourite show. I just basically did nothing and then we went to the park and a bunch of friends of mine came, we played music, it was really nice, honestly.”
That sounds like a perfect way to spend the day. I keep walking past a lot of intimate park parties in New York, that seems like a good way to do birthdays at the moment.
“I’ve been to like four park parties by now, and this is what we should have been doing anyway! This is what we did when we were five and then stopped, but we never should have stopped.”
That’s so true. Just a simple gathering. So, let’s move on to the film. How aware were you of the original Bill & Ted movies when you auditioned, and did you watch them before you filmed Face the Music?
“I watched them before I filmed it, yeah. I watched a clip before my audition to get the voice, because I hadn’t seen them before. And then when I got the part, I got a bunch of friends together and smoked some weed and we watched them back to back, and they blew me away! I felt so lucky that this was the series that I’ve been adopted into.”
They are a lot of fun! I loved your posture and your movement as Billie and how it reflected Keanu’s performance. What helped you the most when you were studying Keanu’s speech and his movement?
“It was really just watching the Bill & Ted movies, because he stands and talks in such a specific way in those movies. Then it was just watching him on set. I could get more and more specific as I had chance to watch him closer and closer as the days went by. Hanging out with him was the biggest lesson.”
Did you bond over anything in particular, anything you have in common?
“He’s an art person, as am I. He has an art book publishing company, and I run an online magazine called Waif. So we definitely bonded over our anti-Hollywood habit. He’s just a really, really a good person. It sounds cliché, but it’s true.”
Yeah, and I think people don’t realise how into art and literature he is because he’s a fairly private person isn’t he.
“Yeah, he’s completely tuned out of what’s going on. Like I was saying ‘you know Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road? You’re in the animated video of it.’ And he was like ‘what did you just say?’ Well, first of all I asked ‘do you know who Lil Nas X is?’ And he was like ‘Lilnelnarzic?!’ So I was like, ‘Oh, we have a lot of learning to do!”
Tell me a bit about creating the onscreen relationship with Samara Weaving who plays Bill’s daughter Thea, because watching it at times I was forgetting that you guys weren’t playing siblings because obviously you’re characters have spent so much time together growing up, it’s almost that kind of relationship isn’t it.
“Yeah, they’re almost the same person! They’re like one character almost because there’s never a time in the movie where I say ‘I’, it’s always ‘we’. And I, we, had a lot of time to just play in New Orleans together. And so, we’d spend a lot of time just walking around and sort of doing research, but mostly just like drinking daiquiris and getting lost. At the end of the day, Sam and I both prefer reading quietly over anything else. So there was a lot of time on set where we would just tuck ourselves away in a corner and we’d both have our books to just silent read. And it was a dream, honestly. Because our characters have a shared wisdom, a lot of our time was spent figuring out what each other’s shared language was. And sometimes, it was, you know, laughing and joking around, and a lot of the time it was listening to a Rihanna album, playing on the ground. But we got really close. I really love Sam and I love this movie being about friendship and giving us the chance to make close friends.”
I love your Instagram feed and last year you used it to come out as non-binary. I just wondered what it’s been like navigating that coming out process offline in terms of telling people and asking them to use your correct pronouns.
“Sometimes it’s really simple and sometimes it’s more complicated. Everyone that is close to me understands and respects me and is really, really good about using the correct pronouns and, you know, just knowing who I am. I think most of my generation – at least who I spend time with – has a nuanced understanding of gender that means I don’t have to spend time justifying myself. There are definitely moments, especially in this business, which is an incredibly gendered business, that it is oftentimes met with just a curiosity more than anything else. But I think that I could not be luckier that this is the time that I’m alive working as an actor, because most of the time it just feels really welcoming and that there’s need and a desire to expand the minds of the people who are already doing this work.”
How important is it to you that you use your social media platform to help foster social change?
“I think the most important use of social media is information and the funnelling of funds, that’s what I’ve found the most helpful. Because there’s only so many posts you can see and then we get numb to it. But especially with these larger platforms, mine included, if we can use them for the channeling of funds and the channeling of information then I think that’s making the best of what otherwise can be sort of a toxic medium. There’s so much ego tied up in social media and I think if we allow ourselves to let that go and just use it as a news source then that I think we’re going to find out the true meaning of it and the most helpful way it can be used.”
Have you attended any of the protests over this summer?
“Yeah, I’ve been protesteting. In New York there’s a protest here almost every day so I go as often as I can.”
Do you have a favourite LGBTQ+ either film, TV series, book, an artwork, it could be a play, a piece of music, or a person; something or someone that’s made an impact on you and really resonated with you?
“The are so many! I hate to be cliché, but I rewatched Call Me By Your Name last night and that’s pretty good! My favourite queer book is Orlando by Virginia Woolf. I read that for the first time a couple years ago and I was astonished, especially as a non-binary person because she wrote it about her lover who identified as female but was genderfluid. And it’s a fabulous book. Do you know it?”
Actually I haven’t read the book I’m ashamed to say, but I’ve seen the film a number of times, but I should definitely read the book.
“Well, I need to see the film, I haven’t seen that! So we’ll both do that. You can read the book, and I’ll watch the film.”
Yes, and we can compare notes!
Before we go, I must ask you about Atypical because I know you have so many fans around the world from that series. Unfortunately filming obviously couldn’t happen when it was meant to, but when it does restart what are you looking forward to exploring with your character in the fourth season?
“I’m really excited to see what happens with Casey and Ozzie, I want to know what happens next. The thing is I have no idea what is going to happen and I talk to the writers every so often and they sort of tease me and give me little tidbits, but I’m just so curious about what’s going to happen because we left season 3 with this embracing of this maybe new relationships and they’ve gone through a lot of the hard parts about coming to one sexuality and I want to get into, like, the gooey love romance of what happens next.”
By James Kleinmann
You can see Brigette Lundy-Paine in Bill & Ted Face the Music on demand and in theatres this Friday August 28th. Head to the film’s official website for more details.
Follow Brigette on Instagram @briiiiiiiiiig.