UH Faculty, Alums Team with Eric Roberts in 'Rogue Strike'

New Thriller Directed by Alum Kerry Beyer and stars Professor Jim Johnson

Cougar connections run deep. In the film “Rogue Strike,” they run very deep as the film focuses on a sunken submarine carrying a dangerous secret weapon.

University of Houston C.T. Bauer College of Business alumnus Kerry Beyer wrote, directed and stars in the film. Co-stars include director of UH’s School of Theatre & Dance Jim Johnson, alumnus David Born and former theater student Josh Morrison.  Oscar nominee Eric Roberts also stars in the film.

The action thriller was filmed in Houston and will premiere on Dec. 16 in Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park (114 Vintage Park Blvd.). Described as “Die Hard” meets “The HuntRogue Strike - Jim Johnson for Red October,” the movie focuses on a sunken Russian submarine armed with a weapon of mass destruction. Beyer stars as a seasick filmmaker, whose girlfriend is taken hostage by terrorists. He is forced to retrieve the weapon but faces opposition by a maniacal sub commander, Captain Novakov (Roberts). Johnson plays the President of the United States.

“It was a great experience,” Johnson said about the production. “I hadn’t played a president before, so it was a fun opportunity. Plus, I can say this was the first role I had with the line, ‘Bring us to Def Con 3.”

“Rouge Strike” is the latest film released by Beyer’s company Kerosene Films. Other Kerosene productions written, directed and starring Beyer include “Spirit Camp” and “Killing Mr. Right.”

Although he earned a bachelor’s degree in business management (’94), Beyer always had an interest in film and television. An actor and model, he chalked up several film and television roles – including a fight scene with Chuck Norris in the series “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

His knowledge of the industry combined with business acumen learned at UH was helpful in the launch of Kerosene Films in 2001.

“Rogue Strike” is Beyer’s most ambitious film and the first to feature a seasoned Hollywood veteran such as Roberts. Beyer said that as the script was being written, he thought that Roberts was perfect for the Captain Novakov character. After reaching out to his management, he managed to cast the Oscar nominee in the film.

“Two weeks after I spoke to his agent, he was in Houston filming his scenes,” Beyer said. “He’s a great actor. Watching him work is like taking a master class. He always brought a fresh perspective to the scenes. As a director, it was a real treat to work with him.”

According to Beyer, approximately 40 percent of “Rogue Strike” was filmed in front of a green screen. For some of the stage-trained actors, this was a new experience. Former UH student Morrison directs and acts on Houston’s theater scene. He shared all of  his sub scenes with Roberts in front of a green screen.

“This was a first for me, so it took some getting used to,” said Morrison, who directed Stages’ current run of “Panto Rapunzel and Zombies.”  “My scenes with Eric were pretty confined, so you kind of forgot about the screen and just focused on the other actor. It was a great experience.”

Beyer is involved in the creative aspects of Kerosene Films, but his Bauer education factors heavily into each film. Half of his job, he said, utilizes the skills learned at UH.

Rogue Strike“A big part of what I do every day is business related … handling contracts, legal documents, marketing,” he said. “Any artist in any discipline has to be trained in business. It’s essential to being successful. I’m particularly grateful for the things I learned at the University of Houston.”

Tickets for the advance screening of “Rogue Strike” can be purchased online at the Alamo Drafthouse website. The film soon will be available through streaming services including iTunes and Amazon Video on Demand. For more details on this film and Beyer’s other projects, visit the Kerosene Films website.