I GOT THIS FROM Fuskeez ON LIVEJOURNAL
New Kids on the Boards
By JASON ZINOMAN
Published: July 25, 2004
Jennifer S. Altman
WHEN Joey McIntyre and Joey Fatone met for dinner at Joe Allen's in the theater district on a recent night, not one screaming girl, tabloid photographer or nosy fan followed them. In fact, no one seemed to notice them at all. Walter Cronkite, who was sitting 10 feet away, received more stares. How times have changed.
Photos of Mr. McIntyre and Mr. Fatone once adorned the bedroom walls and school lockers of every squealing pop-music-obsessed girl in the country. In the late 1980's, Mr. McIntyre was the youngest (and perhaps most adored) member of New Kids on the Block, a bubble gum pop quintet that paved the way for the boy band craze a decade later, when Joey Fatone from 'N Sync started appearing on the covers of magazines for teenagers. Now that MTV has moved on to other telegenic young stars, Mr. Fatone, 27, and Mr. McIntyre, 31, are attempting second careers as musical theater actors.
The Brooklyn-born Mr. Fatone, who starred in the musical "Rent" in 2002, recently replaced Hunter Foster as Seymour in "Little Shop of Horrors." Mr. McIntyre, a Bostonian, who was in the Off Broadway show "Tick, Tick . . . Boom!," took over the role of the heartthrob prince Fiyero in "Wicked" last Tuesday.
The two Joeys agreed to meet for a conversation at The New York Times's request. After giving each other a quick bear hug, Mr. Fatone and Mr. McIntyre, whose paths have crossed several times over the years, started comparing notes about playing stadiums, getting respect and selling T-shirts.
JASON ZINOMAN Do you worry that being known as a boy band star will make it difficult to earn respect from fellow actors?
JOEY MCINTYRE No, I already have it. Anybody who's seen me in "Tick, Tick . . . Boom!" knows that. You come in with this story about you. "Oh, he's from New Kids on the Block. He's this. He's that." But when I walk in the door, I'm just like any other actor. I'm happy to be there and get it on.
JOEY FATONE When I did "Rent," they were, like, "Sorry, we don't have a private dressing room." But I was, like, "That's cool."
ZINOMAN Why do so many musicians try to act?
FATONE Look, the transition from music to acting can be brutal. For instance, you got "Glitter."
ZINOMAN With Mariah Carey?
FATONE If you took her out of the movie, it wouldn't be that bad.
MCINTYRE I don't think it would be that good, but maybe. People, mostly writers, underestimate young artists in the music business. They figure they're being told what to do because of the history of Hollywood and Motown. Yes, you need a great manager and you need a great producer, but you got nothing unless you got the talent. No one ever told us how to be. It was natural. I was the little cute one. Donnie was the tough leader. Jordan was the sexy lead singer. Danny gave his 110. Jon was the shy one. That's what we were. And then, that was exploited.
ZINOMAN Were you exploited?
MCINTYRE New Kids exploded before we knew it. We put out this record and all of a sudden we were the great white hope. Our merchandising got a little out of hand and people saw us as too commercial.
ZINOMAN What was the worst example of merchandising gone wrong?
MCINTYRE Marbles. You haven't lived until you've seen your own head roll down the hallway.
FATONE For us, things would go out without approval. I don't want 'N Sync lip balm.
ZINOMAN What have you found to be the hardest thing about acting in a musical on Broadway?
FATONE Performing every night eight days a week. Some movie stars will play a role for a few weeks and then leave, but I'm in "Little Shop" for six months straight.
MCINTYRE I love being onstage. I love the integrity of it. I don't want to get dramatic, but this is holy ground.
FATONE Some people are, like, "Why don't you be leading man in a film?" Look, I'm not leading man material right now.
ZINOMAN What about the venue? How is performing in a Broadway house different from 100,000-seat stadiums?
FATONE It's, uh, real. It's way more real. You do stadiums because you can, know what I mean?
FATONE Broadway is more intimate. But when you're at a concert, the energy is fun. I get a kick out of that.
ZINOMAN Joey McIntyre, you were one of the biggest heartthrobs in your group.
MCINTYRE I sold the most T-shirts, I know that.
FATONE Thank God for Justin.
MCINTYRE Exactly. You still split it five ways, right?
ZINOMAN But when Justin Timberlake started getting so much attention, did that cause tension within 'N Sync?
FATONE Funny, it never did. You think it would. He's young. Younger girls are obviously going to love him, and there's a lot more younger girls at our concerts. One time we did an autograph signing and we're all sitting side by side. A young girl goes up to Justin, "Oh, my God, you're so cute, I want to marry you." She goes to JC, "Oh, JC, you have a beautiful voice, I love you . . . Lance, your eyes are so pretty . . . Chris, you're crazy . . . Hey, Joey, my mom loves you and wants to cook you dinner." That's what I get, being from New York, Italian and loving to eat.
ZINOMAN Jordan Knight put out an album earlier this year called "Jordan Knight Presents New Kids on the Block Remix." What do you think about that?
MCINTYRE Nooooo comment. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
ZINOMAN Did you get money from that album?
MCINTYRE If it happened to sell millions of copies, we'd say, "Dude, come on." I think it's a shame. I didn't know what he was thinking. He's way too talented to do something like that.
ZINOMAN Isn't Jordan also on the latest version of "The Surreal Life," the reality show starring has-beens like Hammer and Tammy Faye Bakker?
FATONE I got offered to do that.
MCINTYRE So did I! The thing is â€” thank God â€” my life isn't surreal. It's real, and I've worked hard to keep it real. It's a big trap. People underestimate you constantly. Stick a camera in your face, and you're supposed to be, like, "Really, where do I sign?"
ZINOMAN New Kids and 'N Sync were perceived as nice, wholesome guys. What's the truth?
FATONE We were kids, running around, going to clubs. We're going to strip clubs, this and that. I'm 19 years old, going around the world. I'm going to try to enjoy life. You're young and curious. It's weird, because people perceived us to be goody-goody. We didn't choose to be that way. People are, like, "You curse?" "Yes, I do, but I'm not going to do it on TV."
MCINTYRE After New Kids, I hung out and I partied and I probably made an ass out of myself in the clubs every now and then.
FATONE You needed to.
MCINTYRE Exactly, everyone does.
ZINOMAN Now that you are theater actors, will you change your names to Joe?
FATONE I've been called Joey, Joseph, Joe, everything. I don't care.
MCINTYRE I'll change when he changes. Joe McIntyre sounds like the Democratic representative from the Sixth District in Boston. When you put that "y" on there, man, watch out. The magic happens.
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