When I heard the news that Backstreet Boy Nick Carter had written and was starring in a zombie western that had him joining forces with other ’90s boy banders, I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to see the awesome ridiculousness that would ensue.
Like most ’90s kids, I am a huge Backstreet Boys fan and I chose their side against *NSYNC. However, there was one group I never had to draw a line with–98°. The Motown-signed act stood in neutral territory and aside from BSB, they were the only other male group on my walls. (Jeff Timmons was my favorite, of course!)
As an adult, it seems I’m not the only one who has gotten over the boy band battles that existed in the ’90s. Nick Carter’s film, “Dead 7” unites members of BSB, *NSYNC, 98°, and O-Town so we can all live in perfect musical, zombie-killing harmony.
Recently, I chatted with my friend, and 98° heartthrob, Jeff Timmons about the jump from music into his first acting role. “Originally, it started off with me having this very small role of like the sheriff, or something like that, who gets killed in the beginning,” Jeff explained when he was offered the role by a mutual friend of his and Nick Carter’s. He only had a few pages of lines, so he thought he had it pretty easy.
“Then they hit me back and said, ‘you know what? Nick changed his mind once he heard you were involved. He wanted to give you a much bigger part of playing his brother.’ That’s flattering, of course, but at the same time, it’s a little bit intimidating because it’s a bigger part and I haven’t acted before. I don’t want to make a fool of myself, but look, it’s all lighthearted. It isn’t like this is a blockbuster film, but I do suspect it will have a cult following, for sure. I was very honored and excited about it and it ended up being one of the best experiences of my life.”
While filming “Dead 7” in small, beautiful Butte, Montana, Jeff and the cast, which also included Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick, Howie Dorough, A.J. McLean, and Erik-Michael Estrada, had nothing to do but hang out and bond.
“There are a lot of parallels between the lifestyles of all of us,” he said. “It is sort of a very unique fraternity that you belong to and we have experienced things that 99 percent of the people on the planet have not experienced. We all just were a bunch of guys happy to still be doing twenty years later what we set out to do when we were young men. It was a dream come true for all of us. It was a blessing.”
As for any old rivalries, Jeff says he never felt that on his end. “We were an R&B group at first and with Motown and then Universal, so the whole boy band rivalry thing never really crossed our minds. We were too busy just trying to make it on our own,” he laughed. “With the transition of the labels and the ebbs and flows of the music industry and people breathing down your neck waiting to take your place, we just wanted to keep going. When we crossed paths with those guys [BSB and *NSYNC], there was a mutual respect at all times—there was never a real rivalry. Within our group, we had more rivalry than we did with the other groups because it was such a competitive climate for us, that we just wanted to do our best.”
As for Jeff and his bandmates, Nick Lachey, Drew Lachey and Justin Jeffre, they still get to keep going like they had hoped for. Jeff couldn’t say too much, but hinted around at a possible 98° reunion in the near future!
Aside from taking the plunge into acting and working on some solo music, Jeff is producing a T.V. show called “Drone” for Discovery Science as well as working with Air Vues, which specializes in drone footage. Splitting his time up between L.A. and Vegas, Jeff is also a partner with the Men Of The Strip brand, which had their own E! documentary spotlighting the all male revue show that will be holding residency soon in Las Vegas. A Men Of The Strip reality show is also in the works. With all of these ventures, somehow Jeff still remains a devoted husband and father, often posting photos of him and his family on social media.
While Jeff couldn’t confirm a 98° reunion yet, or a sequel to “Dead 7″, he did say he and the cast would love to do another project together. Jeff is excited to be attending the premiere in L.A. with his wife and parents, and can’t wait to see the finished film.
“My character is kind of a wuss,” he told me when I asked about a favorite scene. “I do act like a badass and kill some zombies and stuff and have my moments, but the majority of the time, either my girlfriend, played by Carrie Keagan, or my brother, played by Nick are always fishing me out of sticky situations. I personally like those numbskull scenes the best. Any of those scenes where I’m getting my ass saved by one of them, those are my favorite ones.”
“Dead 7” was directed by Danny Roew and is brought to us by The Asylum, the same team behind the “Sharknado” series. Jeff was kind enough to share some of his personal behind-the-scenes photos from “Dead 7”. Take a look and make sure you catch “Dead 7” premiering on the Syfy Channel Friday, April 1!
Sandy Lo is an author, blogger, journalist, and digital strategist. Her personal story is inspiring. Sandy started StarShine Magazine, an online publication in 2001, at the age of 18. She wrote her first novel in 2009, “Lost In You,” followed by the “Dream Catchers” Series. She was the first person ever to professionally interview Taylor Swift and has received personal endorsements for her books from members of boy bands Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees.