They were seen as rivals throughout the era of millennium pop music, and now the ultimate boy band showdown takes place as members of the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, 98 Degrees and O-Town punch, kill and shoot each other in Syfy's upcoming zombie western, Dead 7.
Written, produced by and starring Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, the post-apocalyptic flick follows seven renegades battling a zombie plague and ET has exclusive photos that show the boy banders like you've never seen them before -- as villains, cowboys and western gunslingers.
"The joke was that you didn’t know whether to shoot the zombies or the other guys," laughs *NSYNC member Chris Kirkpatrick about starring alongside his longtime rivals.
"I got to kill a couple of other boy banders and that was fun," adds Backstreet Boy AJ McLean. "It was like a secret revenge, even though none of us ever had issues with each other."
Of course, what fans are dying to know is, what did a bunch of '90s heartthrobs do together when the cameras stopped rolling?
"Well, there was nothing to do in Butte, Montana, so we would go to a local dive bar and have some drinks and some laughs," says Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees. "The most memorable moment was when we were all playing video games in Joey [Fatone]'s room. It was a great bonding experience -- we formed a brotherhood based on our similar experiences being in the business and the ups and downs of being in a boy band. It certainly has unique qualities and experiences to it. We had fun at a karaoke night, as well. AJ did an incredible impromptu DJing job!"
That epic karaoke night saw the musicians descending on a local joint, where a few quiet drinks turned into an extraordinary boy band mash-up. In what onlookers described as "once-in-a-lifetime magic," Joey and Jeff joined Howie Dorough to perform the Backstreet Boys smash, 'I Want It That Way.'
"Nick and I were sitting there having iced teas, Howie was having water and some of the other guys were letting loose," recalls AJ, who plays villain Johnny Vermillion. "Nick and I got up to do some DJing and suddenly the rest of the guys started coming up and we started singing each other's songs. Some of the guys were singing, 'Backstreet's Back,' and we did O-Town's 'Liquid Dreams.' It was so much fun."
"But my most memorable day was the first day we got to Butte," he says. "Myself, Joey, Jeff and O-Town's Trevor, Jacob and Erik went to get something to eat and just sat like a bunch of dudes, talking about being parents and real sh*t like that. It was cool to find out how everyone came to be in their bands and Joey said some of the [*NSYNC] guys had really looked up to us. I was like, 'Wow, dude, we looked up to you guys as performers and dancers.' We've become closer now over a three-week period than over the past 20-plus years on the scene together."
While Nick, who plays hero Jack in Dead 7, credits "not having burnt bridges in the music industry" for allowing him to unite the pop stars, he himself missed out on much of the off-set fun, partly due to finding out that wife Lauren Kitt-Carter (who stars in the movie as Sirene) was pregnant with their baby boy, due on April 12.
“I was wearing so many hats on the film, so it was important for me to be on my game and make sure that I was professional,” says Nick, who developed the film with Sharknado production company, The Asylum. “I was trying to learn my lines, be prepared for what we were doing on-set and getting ready to do Dancing With the Stars. I had so much on my plate, but behind-the-scenes what nobody knew was that my wife was pregnant.
“There were things that were happening from the emotional side that made us suspect it initially, then towards the end of filming, we confirmed. So, I was in the room the majority of the time taking care of her!”
Having received his first video camera while growing up in Florida and directing his sisters and brother Aaron in home movies, Nick always dreamed of pursuing an acting career.
Due to frequent time away touring with BSB, he was limited to bit parts on shows like 8 Simple Rules and smaller films like The Pendant, so he decided to write his own script which he could star in at his leisure.
It would be eight years and a fan-fueled Indiegogo campaign later before Dead 7 came to fruition on day one of filming in Montana, last August. Blown away by the "wow moment," he remains "in awe" that the film will now be shared with the world. The movie airs on Syfy on April 1.
Nick, 36, wasn't the only one pinching himself during filming.
O-Town's Erik-Michael Estrada recalls the surrealness of glancing around at his peers during a lunch break during a bar scene. "It was the first time a representative of all the groups was there -- Fatone, Kirkpatrick, [Dan] Miller, Carter, McLean, Dorough and Timmons, as well as Art from Everclear and Jon Secada. I sat back, looked around and thought, ‘How the hell did Nick get all these guys to do this!?'"