Surge Of Power: Revenge of the Sequel” is a movie about the first openly-gay superhero, Surge. The film will debut in New York City on January 19, 2018, and include well-known stars from shows such as “Star Trek.” From actors such as Robert Picardo and Nichelle Nichols to comedians including Bruce Vilanch and Eric Roberts--who was nominated for an Academy Award--the movie will premiere at Cinema Village much to the delight of its creator, Vincent J. Roth.

“Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel” centers on Surge facing his nemesis, the Metal Master, who has just gotten free from jail and is attempting to reconcile with his estranged parents while being pulled back to a life of crime.

Surge realizes he needs assistance to fight this new wave of crime and activates the artificial intelligence which causes other superheroes to step out of the shadows of Big City and ultimately alerting “The Council,” a super-villain organization fixated on world domination, that something is going on.

Vincent J. Roth is the writer behind the franchise who started his career as a corporate attorney. Unable to abandon his creative side, Vincent makes props, designs costumes, writes scripts, and manages both the production and distribution of the Movies he is involved with. Since 2004, Vincent has been actively involved in the field of entertainment and has managed huge casts and crews. Vincent is also an actor who has appeared on stage and on the screen. He is a skilled dancer and has been featured in television, movies, and in commercials.

He is also comfortable performing in front of live audiences and has performed at big venues such as trade shows.

Vincent recently took the time to speak about all aspects of his career via an exclusive interview.

Superheros, characters, and stories

Meagan Meehan (MM): When did you get into movies and what is it about superhero stories that most appealed to you?

Vincent J. Roth (VJR): Filmmaking started as part of bringing a character of my own to life. After years of dressing as other people’s characters (now called “cosplay”), a company I worked for had a marketing campaign using a superhero character called Commander X, and I made a costume of him, which the company liked so much, they would send me to trade shows to be Commander X. This is what motivated me to bring Surge to life. A colleague of mine had just made a movie spoofing 50s sci-fi B-movies and was playing it in Film festivals. I asked him and some colleagues how he went about it, brought a team together, and started the first movie, “Surge of Power: The Stuff of Heroes.” What appeals to me about superhero stories is the selflessness of the heroes, whether it takes their superpowers or not, to step in, protect the innocent and stick up for the underdog.

MM: Why did you decide to make Surge openly gay and how much does his sexual orientation influence the storylines?

VJR: There are so many superheroes out there in comics, on TV and in movies that I needed something to differentiate Surge. I used comedy and his gay identity as my differentiators. Humor is often a vehicle for mainstream audiences to look past sexual orientation and enjoy LGBT characters. Take the success of “Will and Grace.” Now that “Deadpool” has brought comedy into the norm in superhero movies, Surge at least still has his differentiator as cinema’s first out gay superhero. Surge’s orientation doesn’t really influence the storyline much. He has the same problems as any other superhero. His archenemy, Metal Master, however, is much affected by his orientation. In the sequel, we learn that Metal Master’s parents, played by Linda Blair (“Exorcist”) and Gil Gerard (“Buck Rogers”), are homophobic and their rejection of their son is what drove him to a life of crime. This not only affects Metal Master, but his parents struggle with their religious upbringing, their son, and the affect this is all having in Big City and society in general.

MM: What was it like to combine elements of family drama into a superhero story?

VJR: Fans and commentators of the first movie wanted to see more of the Metal Master and wanted to know why he was evil. They also wanted to see gay issues explored. The first movie was a spoof on the superhero genre and the origin story for Surge and Metal Master, so there was only so much territory I could cover. With the origin story done, in this sequel the playing field opens up a lot, giving me room to explore the characters and expand the world of Big City. So, it actually fits quite well to delve into Metal Master and explore a gay issue at the same time. Amid the comedy of Surge’s zany superhero antics, the struggle between Metal Master and his parents emerges as the real emotional underpinning of the movie. Linda Blair and Gil Gerard sell it really well.

MM: What was it like to create—and find shooting locations for—the fictional city in the movie?

VJR: The fictional town of Big City is represented by Los Angeles, which is where most of the Big City scenes are shot. Much of the sequel is shot in Las Vegas, which retains its character. In the first movie, “The Stuff of Heroes,” we made a lot of “Big City” signs to make the shooting locations look like our fictional town. By the time we made “Revenge of the Sequel,” I had actually come across a number of actual establishments across the country with “Big City” in the name and shot little exterior footage. We then put these shots in various places in the movie to dress Los Angeles up as Big City, making it look like these various establishments from different states are all together in one city.

MM: What most appeals to you about the plot and characters and what do you hope audiences take away from the film?

VJR: Surge’s activities are fun and campy and we get to see Surge do more things that we don’t get to see superheroes usually do in their stories – Surge stops to get gas in his Surgemobile, uses a restroom, shops in a convenience store and other funny things you won’t see Batman ever do in a movie. That the fun side. Metal Master’s struggle with his parents, however, is where the drama lies, and it is the serious side of the movie. As Surge got a mentor in Omen (played by “Star Trek’s” Nichelle Nichols), Metal Master now gets a mentor in Augur (played by Eric Roberts) who steps in to exploit the family tension and lure Metal Master down the dark path. This is what is really interesting. In the end, I hope audiences take away the message that intolerance doesn’t just hurt the victim, but damages the family and harms society in general. The theme of the sequel, which is also the tagline of the first movie from Nichelle Nichols’ Omen character is “Make a Difference Where You Can.” I hope the message of acceptance motivates audience members to step out of their theaters or homes and make a difference where they can get in some positive way.

Acting, dancing, and being creative

MM: What made you start acting and dancing and what screen gig has been the most fun so far?

I dabbled around a little with the drama club when I first started undergrad. I also took a couple of dance classes – jazz and modern in undergrad, although I knew I wasn’t going to pursue dancing as a career.

MM: You make costumes and props as well, so what are some of your favorite creations?

VJR: I made many of the costumes in the costume party scene that is seen in a couple of flashbacks in the sequel. While I had prop masters work on many of the props, I made a ton of props in the sequel. I made the iCloak device that Augur gives Metal Master to turn invisible; the iScan device and stand that Metal Master puts the Celinedionium on; the little “Microwaver” device that Surge pulls out of his utility half-belt; the masks and helmet Surge wears; the Las Vegas showgirl outfit that Wendy wears. I even made some foam rocks that Surge gets hit with, and they really look like rocks! I think the iScan was my favorite because of the intricacy of the switches and lights and lighting the crystals.

MM: What kind of live events and staged shows have you performed in and do you find it unnerving to be up on stage in front of so many people?

VJR: I was an exotic dancer during undergrad days and a few years after. I performed in New York down to Delaware in front of live audiences, sometimes with other dancers, mostly freestyle and sometimes with light choreography. I even appeared on an episode of a TV show called “Night Games” in New Jersey that was kind of like a game show and variety show that occasionally paired up dancers to do skits and get rated against each other, like a little competition. My dancing days are long since passed, but standing on stage in a thong in front of an audience burned away any fear of being in front of the camera.

MM: What is coming up next for you and your creative endeavors...for instance, are you going to attend any comic cons?

VJR: We just concluded Season 1 of our web series, “Surge of Power: Big City Chronicles,” and we actually recently shot scenes with Nichelle Nichols for the third movie in the trilogy, “Surge of Power: Call of the Champions.” I’m still pretty busy with the distribution of the sequel, but we’re getting ready to launch Season 2 of “Big City Chronicles.” I haven’t had much time to think about conventions, but I will at least attend San Diego Comic Con and Salt Lake Comic Con. Maybe a couple of others. I listen to audiences and reviewers. The movie is not just my creation. As mentioned, the sequel is very much the answer to what people were requesting. Even during the editing process, I respond to what test screening audiences say. They contribute to the end result. So, I welcome fan participation and look forward to hearing their reactions because I’m here to entertain them!