"Dead 7" interview with A.J. McLean

June 20, 2016 | Alexander James McLean, one of the 5 world-famous Backstreet Boys, plays the crazy villain Johnny Vermillion in the zombie western movie "Dead 7". In our interview he talks about his movie character, gives an insight of what went on behind the scenes and which member of the Backstreet Boys would most likely survive a "real" zombie apocalypse.

In Germany "Dead 7" airs on Syfy on June 23rd, 8.15 pm.

Foto: AJ McLean, Dead 7 - Copyright: Syfy
AJ McLean, Dead 7
© Syfy

Note: © myFanbase 2016 - The interview is exclusive to myFanbase and may not be published on other websites or the like. You may share the first two questions (up to 180 words) if you link back to this site. Translations other than English and German may be posted with full credit including the link to this site.

In two sentences, what is "Dead 7" about and why would you want us to go see the movie?

The movie is about a post-apocalyptic zombie western. It is about this evil, evil witch Apocalypta, who has found a way to control the zombies and take over this small town and it takes a band of 7 misfits to fully stop her. And it's a rollercoaster ride, it's funny, it's very gross, it's action packed and I think you guys will get an absolute treat out of it. It was so much fun to make and I'm kind of sad it's over, right now.

What was challenging about bringing the script to life?

I think the most challenging part was the fact that the script literally changed every single day. Obviously, we were kind of pressured for time, because once Syfy came on board they kind of had a certain deadline. So, you know when you shoot a film, most films take about 2 to 3 months to film, sometimes more. We had to basically do all this in 3 weeks. So, going into it the first few days, the script was far from done. There was no ending, there was no kind of middle. It was just the whole first half. So basically every day we were kind of with the writers, each of the actors were kind of getting in there and kind of feeling out the script, feeling out their part. But I think it was great that our entire crew, from our director, producer and writers really kind of let each of us bring our own two cents to our lines, to our character, like for example, if I didn't like a certain line that I was saying, if I didn't believe that that's what my character would say, they would let me change it. You know, they would let me change it to make it be more what I believe Johnny Vermillion would actually say. So that would make it really, really enjoyable. That everybody had a chance to really be creative and kind of spread their wings.

How did you prepare for your role? You have that crazy laugh going on. Did you have to rehearse it a lot?

Jap. I tell you what. I drank a lot of hot tea when I got back to my hotel room, every night. It's funny, I knew exactly what my character was gonna be, I knew what I wanted him to be, what I wanted him to sound like. Speaking voice wise, I called the wardrobe department and I literally talked it down exactly what I wanted my character to look like and wear. But I didn't have the laugh yet. And when I did my final costume when I was in Montana, when I did my final make up, when I was in full costume with my knives and my guns and my make up, and I looked at myself in the mirror and this laugh just came out. And everybody in the room stopped what they were doing and they looked at me like "that's creepy". And that's when I knew: that's the one. That's a keeper and the laugh is in the film quite a lot. It's kind of I would say my signature, you know, part of my character.

What was the most difficult scene to shoot?

There were probably two scenes I would say were kind of difficult. One scene between myself and Georgie, the little boy. The first time we did that scene and the director said "cut", the little boy walked over to his mom and kind of freaked out. It freaked him out, really, really bad. And I felt bad and then I went to talk to him, like "Dude, I'm just,.." "I know, I know, I just wasn't prepared. No one told me what you looked like." I'm like "well, now you know. It's just me. Have fun with it." So, after that he was totally fine. Initially, I freaked him the hell out.

And then, the second to last day, third to last day of shooting, when we were up on top of the mountain with that huge statue that you see in the film, which is called our lady of the mountain. It's this beautiful, humongous statue of Mother Mary. Most days it was hot, but those third to last day on top of the mountain, we got snowed on, hailed on, rained on and there were about 50 mph wind. So, all within the same day. Like from one hour to the next, it was changing climate and changing like Mother Nature was obviously pissed off with it. So, I felt really bad for some of the girls, like Carrie Keagan, who plays Daisy Jane. She is in a tank top. She was freezing. I'm in a tank top the entire film, but thankfully, they found a jacket for me to wear for my scene on top of the mountain. But everybody was freezing and it was definitely a challenge, because you really can't show that on film. But the upside to it was visually, the end result it made it look really haunting and really creepy. So, it definitely worked out towards our benefit. It was really rough and painful.

Foto: AJ McLean, Dead 7 - Copyright: Syfy
AJ McLean, Dead 7
© Syfy

Who was the biggest prankster on set?

There really wasn't a lot of pranksters. I think everybody took it really seriously, but you know Joey Joey is Joey Joey Fatone, he's always on, he's always funny. He's got such a big, big heart and is a great human being, but sometimes he's got no filter. Actually all the time he's got no filter. So, just some of the things he says and does, you just can't believe that just came out of someone's mouth. It just brightens up your day. Like, if you had a rough time sleeping or you're stressed out about your scene or you're missing home or whatever, just go sit and talk for 5 minutes with Joey Fatone and you're just fine.

Let's pretend there's a real zombie apocalypse tomorrow, which member of the Backstreet Boys would die first, or last?

I would have to say Howie would probably go first. I hate saying that, but I think that Nick and I would probably last the longest. Both of us are really big horror fans and we know a lot about zombies. Actually, my mother is a huge zombie fan. She got me a book for my birthday, last year. It's called basically "the guide to the zombie apocalypse". It breaks down everything you need to know about the zombie apocalypse and how to survive it. It was kind of a gag gift, but it's actually funny, because if it ever did happen, I think I'd do pretty well. But I think the rest of the guys would definitely go first. Howie definitely first.

And last question: what's your favorite zombie movie other than "Dead 7"?

My favorite zombie movie it's kind of a tie between "Day of the Dead" and also "Dawn of the Dead" as well as I though "World War Z" was done so well and it was a different take on the whole zombie apocalypse thing. It was very, very well written. I know that the guy, that wrote it actually does seminars around the world talking about the zombie apocalypse. And people in thousands walk to this guys' conventions and I really wanna go see him. He actually has a great scientific reasoning behind how the zombie apocalypse could actually happen. And it really shed some light on stuff. It's like wow, okay I'm watching this zombie movies thinking this could never happen and then you listen to this guys' theory and think "shit, it could happen". Also, I gotta say "Shawn of the Dead", I kind of like the whole comedic aspect of the zombie film as well. But zombie films are kind of like vampire films. You can recreate them over and over again and they never get old. I mean look at all of the films and shows on TV: "Z Nation", "iZombie". People love zombies. They just do. There's something fun about zombies. I think it's cool in "Dead 7" we had slow zombies and we had fast zombies. We had kind of the whole spectrum of all the different types of zombies. I'm looking forward to making a next one.

A prequel with 90s girlbands?

That would be awesome! That would actually be really cool.

Thank you for making time for us.

Thank you. I really appreciate it.

Jeanette - myFanbase