Alex Winter's long quest to pay tribute to rock legend Frank Zappa with new documentary

The late Frank Zappa was considered a complicated musical genius; an outspoken rebel, a perfectionist, an original.
LOS ANGELES -- Alex Winter made a name for himself playing "Bill" in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure." But besides being an actor, Winter is also an accomplished director - and the man behind the new critically-acclaimed new documentary, "Zappa."

"I grew up a fan of him as both a musical artist and as kind of cultural icon," said Winter.

The late Frank Zappa was considered a complicated musical genius. He was outspoken, a rebel, a perfectionist, an original.

When Winter approached his widow about what he wanted to do, she opened the Zappa vault - something she'd never done before - and gave him free rein.

"And it's an enormous amount of material and we had to spend a couple of years just preserving a lot of it. A lot of it was deteriorating film and video media mostly," said Winter. "The family had done a very good job preserving the audio and the masters and his great musical work."

In the end, it took more than five years to make this movie.

"It was by far the biggest and most challenging thing I've done but it was very gratifying and we were lucky to have the time because it really needed the time," said Winter. "I think he was probably one of the world's greatest 20th century Avant grade composers. That doesn't mean he's inaccessible. He's actually very accessible. But if you're scratching your head trying to find out who he is, that's kind of who he is."

"Zappa" is theaters and on-demand now.
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