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The former NSYNC member just announced he has partnered with Sony’s TriStar Pictures to produce a film about two girls who quit school to follow NSYNC on their final tour in a Winnebago they won from the game show The Price Is Right.
“The fact that it happened just like that, that they willed that weird thing to happen,” Bass exclaims, “it was the biggest prize ever given on Price Is Right, I mean that is nuts to me. So that means it has to be a film.”
The executive producer of the as-yet-untitled film talked to EW about the serendipitous way the film finally got greenlit, who he’s thinking about for the cast, and why NSYNC may not be characters in the film.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: To start, can you walk me through how long of a journey it’s been getting this film greenlit?
LANCE BASS: It’s actually been about a 20 year journey. When I first found out about this true story, we were towards the end of our [Popodyssey] tour, and these girls had been following us for two and a half months already. I was watching TRL from inside the venue in San Diego and Carson Daly is on the Winnebago with these girls out front, talking about their story, and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, this is the coolest thing ever.” So me and the guys immediately went out into the parking lot, met the girls, gave them tickets to the rest of the shows, and it was just a really cool story. I knew at that moment, I’m like, “this is going to be the best movie one day. I cannot wait.” That was my first year to ever produce a movie, so I’m like, “this is gonna be one of my movies.”
Fast forward 20 years later. I’ve pitched it a few times throughout the years, but no one really was jumping at it [until last] year. I’d just did this documentary on Lou Pearlman, and I was doing some press for it, and I was talking to Variety, and they’re like, “What’s your next film?” I was like, “Well, I’ve always wanted to make this film.” The next day Sony calls and says, “That’s it. We want to do this.” The crazy thing was the reasoning behind it was the chairman of Sony is the one who called, and he’s like, “You have no idea. One of the girls has been [my] nanny for the last 10 years.” So he had this crazy connection with the actual person who lived it, so he got it immediately. I’m like, “Yes!” That was such a great inside thing to have.
And that put you back in touch with the girls again?
It did. I mean, I hadn’t seen these girls since that day, so we contacted them to see if they even wanted their story told, and they jumped at the chance. They’re so lovely. It was nice to see them get back together because, you know, life gets in the way, everyone moves to different places, and it was nice to see their friendship bond more in the development of this film.
Where are you guys at as far as development goes? It was just announced that Sony bought it, and that you’re producing it with Cindy Cowan, but do you have a writer, director, and cast already set?
We have not started casting, but we have lots of great cast in mind because with this story, we’re actually putting it 20 years later. So it’s older women that we get to work with, and it’s definitely a comedy, so we have lots of great people in mind from Ellie Kemper to Amy Schumer, that type of great comedian. But we can’t cast until the script is done, so we’re about to start the script. We’re looking for the best writer right now, and we’re excited to find that because I think finding a real strong female writer is what’s key for this girls road trip.
Does that go with directing too?
Oh, yeah. I think this is a story about women and I want it to be told by women, so hopefully we can find a great female writer, great female director. I think it would just be so much fun to work on a project like that.
Have you been keeping a mental note of the actors who love NSYNC, just in case they’re right for this movie?
I mean all the time, yes. You run into a lot of great people who grew up on our music, and it’s very flattering and so funny, so it’s definitely been a good in for a lot of people who we’re trying to cast. There’s a lot of NSYNC fans that hopefully will be dying to play these roles.
How will the group play into the movie? Is NSYNC playing themselves? Are you casting younger versions of you guys?
I mean, I have a lot of creative things that I want to do with this. Of course, who knows what it will land on, but my gut feeling is to make it a fictitious band because I want people to suspend their imagination a little bit, and not let it be too on the nose about NSYNC. So I’m probably going to create it as a fictional band and NSYNC will not be in it at all. That way I can really have fun with the stunt casting of the band. When we would finally see the band in the film, it might be some of your favorite people who are not NSYNC.
How is music going to play a role in the movie?
What’s gonna be so fun about doing this film is the music. I can’t wait to work on the soundtrack because we’ll definitely have some original songs on there, but this is gonna be a love letter to the year 2000. So you’ll get that amazing music because, you know, on a road trip it’s all about the playlist you have. So the playlist we’re going to create for this film is going to be spectacular.
What are your favorite road trip movies? Are there any you find inspiring for this project?
I love Girls Trip, of course. I think that was just so incredible. It had that kind of Bridesmaids comedy, which I’m just obsessed with. And then Rat Race, of course, is like one of those classics all around, so are just two of my favorites, for sure.
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JC looked dapper at Elton John’s Oscar Party on February 9th, 2020. Pictures are from Getty Images.
Check out the music video here!
Chasez, 43, is doing his “due diligence” in conducting “the appropriate research” for a 2020 comeback, a source close to the boy band told Page Six.
The timing could coincide with the 20th anniversary of their album “No Strings Attached” in March.
“Anyone who knows JC knows that everything he does, whether it pertains to the original group and even Coachella, is done in a very thoughtful and meticulous matter,” the insider said, noting that the singer has been spotted meeting with industry insiders.
Read more here at PageSix.
What Does the Future of *NSYNC Hold?
Following *NSYNC (minus Justin Timberlake) performing with Ariana Grande at Coachella last spring, a lot of people wondered what could be next. A tour? A new album? And would it be with or without JT? Well, Joey says there were definitely some question marks after their weekend in the desert. “We started getting phone calls, of course,” he says. “‘Well, are you guys back together? What are you doing? Oh my gosh! There’s an offer here.’ This, that. There were offers thrown on the table, but the whole thing was, I don’t think we were ready for it yet. I don’t think even at the moment, like to really mentally wrap our head around to see what we want to do, and I think that’s the conservation that we really have to have that we haven’t had yet. It’s really going: ‘Do we wanna do it, or do we not? And if we do want to do it, what is it?’ And that’s something that will definitely take some time.”
That said, he’s not shutting down the possiblity. “It’s not a no, but it’s not a yes, because the thing is, we may come up with an idea that may not work for all of us. … If I did do something like this, I think it’s just something that definitely we will wanna do maybe more music, but also have fun, do you know what I mean? … There’s not a lot of pressure anymore. Usually back in the day, it was, ‘You need to be No. 1. You need to do this. This should be that. This should be this.’ For us, if we ever came back out, it’s like it’d be nice to do all this stuff and be No. 1, but we’ve already done it. We’re in our 40s! We got kids now! The backstage is going to be completely different, that’s for damn sure! There’ll be a lot more kids running around, no groupies,” he laughs.
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Nine months since JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick and Lance Bass almost broke the internet with their show-stopping Coachella performance, a new year is bringing new anticipation for an NSYNC reunion. There’d be a strong hook for it: 2020 is an anniversary year for “No Strings Attached,” the album that set a first-week record by selling 2.4 million copies when it came out in March 2000, a mark that stood for 15 years before it was bested by Adele. Moreover, Chasez’s recent movements have heightened hopes that this will be the decade the group says Bye Bye Bye to being Gone and tears up our hearts with a long-awaited comeback.
The boy band, who went on hiatus in 2002, last performed as a five-piece while supporting Justin Timberlake as he received the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2013 VMAs, then reunited for their Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in 2018. However, the unlikelihood of Timberlake setting his hugely successful solo career aside to take part in a reunion has remained a roadblock. Variety has learned the singer is planning to start recording new music in February, making his involvement even less likely. (A rep for Timberlake did not respond to a request for comment.)
However, when the band hit the stage as a foursome to perform with Ariana Grande at Coachella, the phenomenal response made a loud and clear statement that the world wants an NSYNC reunion — with or without Timberlake. That left comeback hopes heavily hinged on NSYNC’s other lead singer, Chasez, and his recent sightings have fans hoping he’s quietly helping hatch a comeback.
Shortly after Coachella, Chasez flew to London where he saw Take That in concert and had drinks with the band at Rosewood London. Just like NSYNC, Take That had two lead vocalists (Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow), and while Williams, like Timberlake, embarked on a successful solo career, Take That has succeeded without him.
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New article from Billboard Magazine!
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Since Lance Bass, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick took the stage together during Ariana Grande‘s Coachella set on April 14, 2019, *NSYNC fans have been dying to know if that performance meant a full-blown reunion is underway. And naturally, that’s all the guys have been asked about for the last nine months.
Bass has served as the unofficial spokesperson for the group (which, of course, also includes Justin Timberlake, who did not participate in the Grande-union), braving the burning *NSYNC question in countless interviews. Fatone and Kirkpatrick have also chimed in on the matter, and all three of them have masterfully remained vague. But if there’s one positive takeaway, it’s that at least three *NSYNC members are on board if the opportunity is right.
Be sure to check out @missionnsync on IG to follow along with this fan-created movement!
Enjoy this article from Entertainment Weekly!
On Sept. 7, 2000, Lance Bass, J.C. Chasez, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick, and Justin Timberlake of the beloved boy band NSYNC accepted the award for Best Pop Video at the MTV Video Music Awards. Dressed in an array of early 2000s fashion — Leather trench coats! Double denim! Ultra-fitted turtlenecks! — the group gathered onstage as Timberlake thanked God for His blessings and their respective families for being behind them, “no matter what stupid stuff we did or wore or sang or whatever.”
Twenty years after the video’s release, on Jan. 11, 2000, it’s clear that — clothing aside — their fans found nothing stupid in what the guys did or sang. At the time of publication, the “Bye Bye Bye” music video has over 214 million views on YouTube. So in honor of its anniversary, we called up (most of) the group and a few of their collaborators to reminisce about the video’s making, its feature film-sized budget, the days of TRL (that’s MTV’s Total Request Live , for the youngins), and the story behind one of the most memorable dances of all time.
A Group Effort
In the early 2000s, it wasn’t uncommon for music videos to resemble mini-action movies, with high-energy dance breaks, bizarre concepts (we all remember Britney in Mars for the “Oops!… I Did it Again” video, right?) and money to spare. The “Bye Bye Bye” video was no exception. Complete with speeding trains, car chases, rabid dogs, and synchronized choreography on strings, director Wayne Isham created a thrilling four-minute ride that — if you don’t overthink it too much — somehow fits with the lyrical theme of escaping an ex. “It was a fun time to make music videos,” Bass tells EW. “It was all about MTV and how can we outdo each other — but spending $1 million on a video? That was probably stupid.”
With the band’s input, Isham used the guys’ unique traits to come up with the concept. “We had a good run together,” says Isham, who later worked with the group on the “It’s Gonna Be Me” and “Pop” videos. “It definitely was a lot of fun because those guys all had a blast and took a lot of chances. They all have big personalities and we had to make sure we shined the light on everybody. Chris and Joey had the sense of fun, Justin has that smile, and J.C. and Lance had very wry humor about it all.”
The clip kicks off with the guys on strings, being controlled by an evil ex-girlfriend puppetress (played by Kim Smith, who later starred in the “It’s Gonna Be Me” video), before she cuts them loose, just to pursue them some more. “You kind of feel like an action hero for a second,” says Kirkpatrick, “Like, ‘This isn’t a video, this is real life!’ It was such a cool fantasy come true.”
“Oh, I Know That Dance!”
If you don’t know the signature move to the “Bye Bye Bye” chorus, you’re too young to be reading this piece. “I feel like I’ve taught that dance to about 50 people this year alone,” says Bass, who remembers actually breaking his ankle while performing the routine on SNL shortly after shooting the video. “It’s funny how things come back to you so easily, but I guess if you did it, you know, five million times, it’s somewhere in your DNA.”
That unforgettable choreography was the brainchild of acclaimed choreographer (and creator of everyone’s favorite 2001 instructional dance VHS, Darrin’s Dance Grooves), Darrin Henson. Henson — whose résumé boasts names such as New Kids on the Block, Britney Spears, and the Spice Girls — was actually on the brink of quitting the industry after losing out on a VMA for his work on Jordan Knight’s “Give It to You” when he got the call from NSYNC manager Johnny Wright. Henson told Wright he was pursuing acting and no longer choreographing, but Wright wasn’t having it. “He was like, ‘No, no, no, you don’t understand; you gotta do this song,’” Henson recalls. “’This is going to be the pinnacle.’” So Henson hopped on a flight to Vegas where NSYNC was performing at the Billboard Awards so they could play him “Bye Bye Bye” for the first time. “I was like, ‘Man, this track is slamming!” he says.
Excited by the song and the fact that “those white boys could dance,” Henson got to work right then and there in his Vegas hotel room. “I turned the music up as loud as it could go,” says Henson. “I came up with the pumping hand — that’s the black power fist — and the hand going across the front during the ‘bye bye bye’ lyric is the ‘stop talking s—.’ I come from the Bronx, and in New York whenever somebody said something, you’d put your hand up in a talking manner, like open and close, meaning, ‘stop talking s—.’”
All Strings Attached
Back in L.A., the band convened at Alley Kat Studio to run through the moves. “I gave them the choreography over a few days and we rehearsed, rehearsed, rehearsed,” says Henson. “The guys were always good. J.C. had a lot of energy and Justin always had this laid back kinda cool attitude. Chris, and he’ll tell you this, was probably the one who had the biggest obstacles when learning and distributing the choreography. It was very, very difficult because I incorporated hip-hop, popping and locking, and really put Darrin into it. I put moves in there that other boy bands wouldn’t be able to mimic. That’s what was so special about NSYNC.”
Nailing the moves onstage was one thing, but for the music video, the guys were fastened to bungee cords and asked to dance as if puppets on strings. “It’s not easy, that’s for sure,” says Chasez. “The bungee is where it gets a bit challenging. We’re all supposed to be in sync and we’re fighting with these bungees to make sure our arms are all in the same place. When you’re doing the choreo on those things, it’s certainly challenging. But like anything, with a bit of repetition and a bit of practice, you settle in.”
Dancing on the Ceiling
Is anything harder than mastering moves mid-air? How about doing them in a spinning room? Interspersed throughout the girl-chasing-guys narrative of the video, are scenes of the band dancing in a rotating gimbal room. “The gimbal room goes back to Gene Kelly who did it originally in the ‘40s,” says Isham. “As a filmmaker, these are challenges I want to do. The guys were ready to accept, and Darrin was excited about doing something different.” But Isham didn’t factor in the group’s excitability until he got on set. “They started having fun by jumping around from one side to the other,” he recalls. “Containing their energy was always a challenge and trying to get them to focus on the dance routine when they were jumping from wall to wall to wall… Well, let’s just say that footage alone could’ve been its own video.”
While fun at the time, a couple of days later, Bass was suffering. “I don’t know if the other guys got motion sickness, but I had vertigo for a good two days after that,” he says. “What was crazy was that it didn’t even set in until about 48 hours later.” Adds Kirkpatrick, “I was nauseous before I got into it.”
If the five guys got so stoked about a rotating room, you can imagine how they responded when asked to race cars and run on speeding trains. “They never hesitated at all and did all their own stunts,” says Isham. “Today someone would totally raise a flag about insurance.” Cue Fatone and Kirkpatrick jumping from one moving train car to another (one Steadicam operator wasn’t nearly as comfortable with the risks and had to be replaced mid-scene).
“There was no green screen,” says Kirkpatrick. “Today it’d be like, ‘If Jackie Chan is not in this video, you are not doing your own stunts.’ It was funny because the train I think was going something like 20 miles per hour, but of course they made it look faster.”
The slow speed was probably for the best, since at one point, Kirkpatrick realized he was dangerously close to one of the train’s tires. “Before the train started, I’m sitting there and I realize we’re going to be kicking off the tire,” says Kirkpatrick. “So, if my wire fell off, I would’ve gotten sucked under the train. That made me a little more nervous.” Remembering the same scene, Isham adds, “Yeah, Joey turned to me and goes, ‘Um, there’s big steel wheels right underneath my feet.’ Thank goodness, knock on wood nothing bad happened.”
Back on the ground, Bass and Chasez found themselves contending with a different type of fast-moving vehicle: a red Dodge Viper RT/10. “When we were talking with Wayne in the planning stages, I had mentioned that my favorite car chase at that point in any movie ever was in the movie Ronin with Robert De Niro,” says Chasez. “When I showed up on set, it turned out that he had literally hired the guys that did the car chase scene from the movie to help stunt coordinate and teach us some of the driving. There were certainly one or two scary moments when the car got a little out of control, but it’s kind of controlled chaos. I’d be in the car and the guy with the camera would be like, ‘Go faster!’ and I’m like, ‘Okay!’”
Part of the scene saw Bass and Chasez drop into the car from above, as if landing there after being cut from their puppet strings. “There was an 18-wheeler behind us with his light pole and we were having to hang on to the pole and, as we’re moving, drop into the car,” recalls Bass. “The first time we did it, I missed the car and something on the roof of the car just cracked.” Fatone didn’t get off quite so lucky, sustaining an embarrassing injury he remembers to this day. “I ripped my pants — right in the crotch,” he says. “They had to duct tape them back together.”
As for Timberlake, well, comparatively, running from dogs suddenly didn’t seem so daunting. “J.C. and Lance jumped into a moving automobile, Chris and Joey are on top of a train running, so I think I got off easiest on the stunts,” he said during an interview with MTV’s Making the Videoat the time. “All I have to do is run, but I have to make it look good — I can’t look like a dork when I’m running. Gotta be cool.”
Leaving A Legacy
Twenty years later, the guys are philosophizing on why the video was so popular at the time. Whether a sign of the times or something more enigmatic, one thing they can all agree on — besides the fact that it can’t possibly be two decades since they shot the thing (“Are you sure it isn’t it the 75th anniversary?” jokes Kirkpatrick.) — is that its success, though initially surprising, took a lot of effort and is something they’re proud of.
“We were working hard to be at a very high level,” says Chasez. “It takes a miracle for it to actually work and we were lucky enough to be part of that miracle in that moment.” As for what he remembers most? “Looking back, it’s in the little moments,” he says. “When I blow on the CD or Justin looks up from landing on the ground and gives you that little laugh, that, to me, makes the video three-dimensional. We allowed our personalities to break the wall and we made a video that’s more than just the song. We made something that’s stretching into the next realm of entertainment, and that’s what I was proud of.”
Stream Bye Bye Bye as many times as you can this weekend on your favorite streaming platforms to help send a message for #byebyebyehiatus!