The 'Dead 7' Cast Has Boy Band Members Galore, Plus A Few More Familiar Faces
Even though I am fully aware of how legitimate Syfy's new movie Dead 7 is, part of me still thinks how this film with boy band members fighting zombies in a Wild West-like land could be the ultimate April Fool's joke. The cast of Dead 7, which includes members from the Backstreet Boys (three members), *NSYNC (two members), 98 Degrees (one member), and O-Town (four members), is almost too good to be true for a person who grew up enjoying the late 1990s and early 2000s music from these boy bands. Yet, I can personally vouch for just how very real this movie from the mind of Nick Carter and The Asylum (the production company behind another memorable Syfy movie, Sharknado) is when it premieres on Friday, April 1.
If the premise of the zombie apocalypse doesn't seem like appropriate fodder for boy band members, don't forget that the Backstreet Boys & co. are now full-grown men and this project offers up a completely different side of these purveyors of bubblegum pop. Yet, a movie shall not survive on boy band members alone, so Carter enlisted the help of other familiar faces to round out his cast of humans — good and bad — surviving in the zombie apocalypse in Dead 7.
While I want to warn you that you should not expect any cameos from the Lachey brothers of 98 Degrees or Justin Timberlake of that little-known band *NSYNC, this cast is still plenty fangirl-worthy. And in a phone interview with Bustle, Carter even teased some additional people he had tried to cast in Dead 7, like Jesse McCartney and Shaquille O'Neal, and how BSBer Kevin Richardson "almost was in it." Still, you may want prepare yourself for the premiere of Dead 7 by reading up on the cast so that your hysterical shrieks won't distract you from the movie.
The youngest member of the Backstreet Boys not only created this gem of a film, but he also stars as Jack, the rouge cowboy who gets called upon to join his brother in fighting the human villain Apocolypta. Besides his continued work with the Backstreet Boys after all of these years, he has kept busy with solo albums, some acting projects, and reality TV shows, including being on Season 21 of Dancing with the Stars (he lost to Bindi Irwin) in 2015. And can we talk about how Carter's already good looks have improved with age?
Carter's fellow Backstreet Boy AJ McLean plays one of the main villains in the film, Johnny Vermillion — a demented cross between the Joker from Batman and Alex from A Clockwork Orange. Johnny works for Apocolypta by helping her create an army of zombies that attacks human towns. The "bad boy" of the Backstreet Boys clearly has a blast playing Johnny and along with still being an active member of the Backstreet Boys, McLean has recorded his own music, including 2015's release "Live Together."
The sole member of 98 Degrees represented in Dead 7 is Jeff Timmons, who has a leading role as Carter's character's brother Billy. Besides having his own solo career after 98 Degrees and reuniting with the band in 2013 for the album 2.0, Timmons recently worked as the emcee for the Chippendales male stripper revue and created his own docuseries for E! based on the experience called Men of the Strip. While it would have been nice to see Aaron Carter play Nick's brother, Timmons is a more than acceptable replacement.
What would a movie featuring boy band members be without *NSYNC's Joey Fatone? Fatone, the boy bander with the most acting credits to his name, plays the drunken zombie fighter, appropriately named Whiskey Joe. Fatone has kept in the spotlight since his *NSYNC days with projects ranging from Dancing with the Stars to hair restoration ads to briefly reuniting with *NSYNC at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. Currently, Fatone can be seen in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.
The third and finale Backstreet Boy in Dead 7 is Howie Dorough, "Howie D.," the quiet one of the band. He gets to have fun as the sniper Vaquero who enjoys some friendly banter with Fatone's Whiskey Joe. As with many of the boy banders, Dorough has a family now and he participated in the epic This Is the End final scene with the rest of Backstreet. Also like Carter, his fangirl-approved looks have improved with age.
Another boy band represented is O-Town, a group that joined the boy band movement thanks to the reality television series Making the Band . Erik-Michael Estrada has a large role as samurai Komodo, channeling The Walking Dead's Michonne with his zombie slaying sword skills. Like many of the other boy bands, O-Town has reunited and is actively together now, but without Ashley Parker Angel.
The last of the boy banders in Dead 7 is Chris Kirkpatrick of *NSYNC. Instead of being a member of the "Dead 7" tasked with killing Apocolypta, he is Mayor Shelby, who lost one eye to the villain and gets to don a badass eye patch. Perhaps the most unrecognizable of the boy band members in Dead 7 (I mean, he has lost his dreads since his *NSYNC days), he participated in the CMT show Gone Country 2, as well as the aforementioned *NSYNC reunion at the VMAs.
With so much testosterone, Carrie Keagan as Daisy Jane helps to balance the cast. As the girlfriend of Timmons' Billy, the TV personality is a perfect fit with the boy bands since she is familiar with the music scene as host of VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live. (When she left the show she was replaced by Nick Lachey.) This year is big for Keagan since besides Dead 7, she'll also be in Celebrity Apprentice and she's releasing the book Everybody Curses, I Swear.
Lauren Kitt Carter
Lauren Kitt Carter's last name is familiar because she is the wife of Nick Carter. She portrays the warrior priestess Sirene as the final member of the "Dead 7." Although known mostly for her famous husband, Kitt Carter is a fitness expert and was obviously an essential part of the VH1 reality show I Heart Nick Carter .
Chloe Lattanzi has the role of Trixie, a woman who sparks the interest of Estrada's Komodo. She was in a few TV movies and episodes of TV series in her childhood, but according to her IMDb page, Lattanzi hasn't worked as an actress since 2001. Yet, she has her own connections to the music industry since she's an aspiring singer and her mom is singing superstar Olivia Newton-John. In Dead 7, Lattanzi looks quite different from the above photo of her with her mom.
As the madame of a brothel in the apocalypse, Frenchie Davis has a brief role as Madame Jezebel. Davis was kicked off of American Idol all the way back in Season 2 for having taken racy photos for an adult website in the past. After Idol, Davis found success with her amazing voice as a performer in a national tour of Ain't Misbehavin' and on Broadway in Rent, along with a second chance at TV singing competition success as a contestant on The Voice as part of Christina Aguilera's team.
As the main villain of Dead 7, Debra Wilson's characters name is very appropriate — Apocolypta. Wilson is best known for her comedy chops from her time spent on MADtv, of which she was cast member from 1995 to 2003. Her role may be more serious in Dead 7, but it's definitely just as bonkers as some of her MADtv characters and The Daily Beast even reported that she created her own language for the zombie-leader role.
Jon Secada was a musician before any of the four boy bands featured in Dead 7 formed, so he was a surprising, but strangely appropriate fit for the movie as Sheriff Cooper, a man instrumental in forming the "Dead 7" group of fighters. Besides his successful recording career, Secada has experience with acting as a Broadway performer in Grease as Danny and in Cabaret as the Emcee.
In one tiny cameo, Everclear's Art Alexakis portrays barfly Jim, who has a brief altercation with Secada's Sheriff Cooper. Another artist of the '90s, Alexakis is still performing with Everclear and embraces the '90s and 2000s nostalgia with his Summerland tour every year. I even got to see him perform in Everclear at my college back in 2008.
Now that you've got the scoop on all of the people in Dead 7, you can enjoy watching the movie without fear of swooning over the boy bands — I just can't guarantee how you'll react to all of the zombie guts.
Image: Raymond Liu/The Asylum/Syfy