Anthony Carrigan on Playing a Killer Robot in ‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’

Anthony Carrigan endured hours of makeup to become Dennis Caleb McCoy, a time-traveling robot in “Bill & Ted Face the Music.”

The “Barry” star embraced the acting challenge, but struggled with the physical demands of wearing such a crazy costume in the dead of summer. He had a very unusual method for cooling off on the film’s New Orleans set (more on that below). The film, the long-awaited third entry in an unlikely trilogy about two metalhead slackers (Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves), arrived on-demand and in theaters on Aug. 28. That’s roughly three decades after the first two installments opened, 1989’s “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and 1991’s “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.”

What attracted you to the project?

I’ve been a fan of the franchise since seeing the movies on VHS. To be part of this final chapter, which was 30 years in the making, was incredible.

Since you grew up watching the films, was it surreal to act opposite Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter fully decked out as Bill and Ted?

It was so distracting. The first time I was in a scene with them, I had lines to say, but I forgot them. I was so in awe of being in the presence of Bill and Ted. It was hard at times not to just fan out.

Are Keanu and Alex anything like the characters they play?

What’s so disarming is that they are the least airhead guys you’ll ever meet. They’re both so brilliant and erudite. It’s kind of intimidating how smart they are.

You are unrecognizable as Dennis, the time-traveling robot sent to kill Bill and Ted. How long did it take to get into costume and makeup?

It was certainly a process. There was a makeup team of five people putting it on and we got it down to two-and-a-half hours. The big thing was to make sure I had some mobility. But it was tough. We were in New Orleans in the summer and it was so hot. I had forty pounds of silicone and plastic and latex, so that just took me into a whole new dimension of discomfort. So little of my actual skin was in contact with the air that the only way I could cool myself off was to have two ice buckets and submerge my hands and wrists in them between takes. Air-conditioning wasn’t going to help with that costume.

How did you create the character?

I was really inspired by the Tin Man from “Wizard of Oz.” Some of it was the discomfort of my suit made it harder for me to emote and restricted my movement, so my character kind of emerged from that.

What’s happening with “Barry” season 3?

I’m not entirely sure. They want to make sure it’s safe when we go back, so we’re sitting tight. We were slated to begin production last spring, but that got interrupted by coronavirus. I think that the extra time will allow Bill Hader and everyone to spend even more energy and focus on making it something really special. It will actually probably make it an even better season.

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