EXCLUSIVE: Backstreet Boys dish on Cher and Miley Cyrus joining new film, working together and BSB/*NSYNC cruise – exclusive by Leena Tailor (Twitter: @LeenaNZ)
Cher and Miley Cyrus are the latest pop-stars tapped to joined Backstreet Boy Nick Carter’s zombie horror “Dead 7”.
In what’s shaping up to be the so-bizarre-it’s-hilarious TV flick of 2016, Nick and wife Lauren’s team are in talks with reps of both artists to join the crowd-funded film.
“There’s a possibility that Cher could be in the movie as the main villain,” Lauren tells Moviehole. “It’s not for sure but there’s talk. Miley Cyrus we’re reaching out to as well.”
Being produced by The Asylum (the guys who brought us Sharknado and Z Nation), the movie will commence filming in Los Angeles, and possibly Alaska, next month and Cher and Miley would join an ever-growing celebrity roll call.
With bandmates AJ McLean and Howie Dorough and actor Devon Sawa already signed up, Nick is also dispelling ancient boy band myths by hiring Joey Fatone from *NSYNC.
“The wish-list of people I want is music-based and I want it to be a unique mix,” says Nick, who has also reached out via Twitter to Sisqó, One Direction’s Niall Horan and his favourite Spice Girl Mel B.
“I want people to see the pictures and go, ‘This is so weird – I can’t believe I would see Nick Carter, AJ McLean, Joey Fatone, Sisqó and Jonathan Taylor Thomas in a movie. I’m going to reach out to Jordan [Knight] from the New Kids as well.”
Written by Nick, who will co-direct as well as play reluctant hero Jack, the story takes place in a futuristic small town in the Wild West, where seven renegades sweep in to fight a zombie plague.
“I mean, if you look at boy bands fighting zombies – it’s going to be funny in itself,” he said, asked how much the film will reflect The Asylum’s signature absurdity.
The project was born from the 35-year-old singer’s 2013 Indiegogo campaign for a different script, titled Evil Blessings. Backstreet Boys fans helped him surpass his fundraising goal of $85,000, raking in more than $150k in one month. With a wad of extra funds, he contemplated developing a bigger project, but stuck with Evil Blessings – until its director passed away, prompting script changes that lead the singer to declare there was too much “bad juju” on the movie.
“I put that one to bed and started working on Dead West [now Dead 7], another screenplay I had, which was more zombie, western-based. It was a much better script and I’m glad we went back to it. Lauren was a fan of it too.
“Now, after 176 [Backstreet Boys] shows, I finally have some time off and can move forward with it.”
So what does a boy bander know about making movies?
“He’s a giant horror movie fan and a very talented individual,” says co-producer David Garber.
Adds The Asylum’s David Rimawi, “He was fairly clear that he doesn’t know a ton about actually producing the movie from scratch and that’s what he’s looking for us to do.”
A long-time horror and sci-fi nut, the film isn’t Nick’s first foray into acting and directing. As well as starring in the The Hollow and Kill Speed, he wrote, directed and starred in short film The Pendant in 2010 and has cameoed on television shows including 90210 and 8 Simple Rules.
Citing Quentin Tarantino as his greatest inspiration, he hopes Dead 7 – which will air on SyFy next year – will achieve the “quirkiness” of Tarantino’s From Dusk Till Dawn.
“I’m a huge fan of western movies and grew up watching Pale Rider and For a Few Dollars More with my dad – all the old spaghetti westerns. Then I’m a science-fiction person as well, so we’ve made this movie post-apocalyptic, but we’re still going to have the horse element of the western.
“It’s a zombie, western, futuristic horror movie.”
Wife Lauren – who studied at Hollywood’s Howard Fine Acting Studio – plays one of the “dead seven” renegades, describing her character akin to Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road.
Being told what to do by her husband is nothing new, she jokes.
“He’s very bossy.
“No, it’s fine. I like working with him. We like spending time together so it’s cool to mix the two worlds.”
Meanwhile, AJ won’t be standing for any bossing around by his bandmate.
“He ain’t telling me sh**,” laughs the 37-year-old, who is preparing to drop his second solo record, launch a clothing line and continue work with his new foundation Live Together.
“I had one stipulation with doing the movie – that I had to be a villain. I can’t be a good guy. That was the only way I’d do it and he was like, ‘Perfect.’
“So I get to be one of the two main villains and rumour is we’ll be doing our own stunts.
“It’s a good thing that we just finished a two-and-a-half-year tour, so I’ve got time before the next album to break bones and get bruises.”
As for 38-year-old Fatone, who just wrapped filming My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, the *NSYNCer hopes the film will finally prove that the two boy bands were never at war.
“Nick called me five different times saying, ‘Hey, you wanna do the film?’, ‘Read the script,’ ‘You wanna do it?’, ‘Do it!’
“For us we can’t lose because we’re having fun. We’re not taking it seriously or pretending to be method actors. It’s just fun.”
Speaking of fun, once Dead 7 wraps, the Backstreet Boys will start gearing up for their fan cruise next May, so does this collaboration mean we might see a BSB/*NSYNC cruise down the line?
“We’ve actually talked about it,” says AJ. “I’ve talked about it with Lance [Bass] a couple of times and I think it’d be fun.”
“You never know,” adds Joey. “Lance has mentioned it to me as well. Maybe we’ll do a mash-up…”
Which begs the questions – with boy banders on a boat, is there a potential for a Dead 7/ Sharknado crossover?
Says Rimawi, “If you know anything about The Asylum, we’re whores for a good idea so if it works we’re going to beat it to death and make it happen!”