Of boy bands and zombies
What do you get when members of boy bands come together and make a movie? Post-apocalyptic zombie flick Dead 7
It's 2016, but for some of us, the US boy bands of the 90s never really left our hearts.
Decades after they abandoned their centre-parted floppy locks and questionable fashion choices, a few of our favourite idols have reunited for the post-apocalyptic zombie flick Dead 7.
Before you scream "quit playing games with our hearts", this is no joke.
Nick Carter, A J McLean and Howie Dorough of Backstreet Boys, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick of *NSYNC, and Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees will showcase their acting chops in a made-for-TV movie about a ragtag group of gunslingers stranded in a town as they try to navigate through a zombie-infested reality.
Co-written by Carter, 36, it premieres on May 1 at 9.10pm on Syfy (StarHub Ch 517).
The singers also teamed up to record the theme song of the film titled In The End.
McLean, 38, told M over the phone from Los Angeles about playing the bad guy, his boy band buddies and overcoming his dark days.
How did the idea for Dead 7 come about?
It came from Nick, who had an idea for a screenplay, which was to be called Dead West, almost four years ago.
When he was writing it with other writers, he approached me while we were getting dressed to go on stage and asked if I would be interested in being in the film. I said, "Yes, of course, on the condition that I get to be the villain."
Everybody almost always loves the bad guy more than they love the hero.
As baddie Johnny Vermillion, what is your kill count in the film?
I can't say who I've killed, but my kill count is pretty high. I'm a pretty ruthless sociopath and am immune to the zombie breakout.
I sought inspiration from movies like The Dark Knight, A Clockwork Orange and Raising Cain.
Once I got my costume on, my make-up on, my contact lenses in and my gun in hand, I looked at myself in the mirror and that's when I came up with what you know as the Johnny Vermillion laugh.
I think I laugh in the movie probably more than I actually talk.
Who did you bond with during filming?
Joey and I are long-time best friends and Erik-Michael Estrada from (boy band) O-Town became a really close friend.
He comes weekly to my poker game and we have hung out in Brooklyn and New York. All these guys are great, everyone was fun to work with.
Why are your fellow Backstreet Boys members Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell not in Dead 7?
Kevin is the coach for his son's baseball team, so he obviously couldn't miss the play-offs.
As for Brian, his son was auditioning for a Broadway production and eventually got the part.
You've had your share of dark days. Nick was arrested recently after a bar scuffle. Have you been helping him or offering him advice?
We're all humans and sadly, now, with social media, tabloids and TMZ, nothing is really secret any more. If you get caught doing something that an average Joe might do, you're going to get your head on the chopping block.
I think Nick handled it well and he learnt a valuable lesson. He's human.
We've all tried to be there for one another and help each other through anything, whether it's me going to rehab or Nick with his family or Brian with his heart surgery.
All these things that we've been through the past 23 years, we have each other's backs and we try to help each other through the highs and the lows.