Neil Burger

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Neil Burger
Neil Burger.png
Burger in June 2015.
Neil Norman Burger

OccupationFilm director, writer, producer
Years active1987-present
Notable work
Interview with the Assassin, The Illusionist, Limitless, Divergent
Diana Warner Kellogg
(m. 1997)

Neil Norman Burger is an American film and television director, writer, and producer. He is known for the fake-documentary Interview with the Assassin (2002), the period drama The Illusionist (2006), Limitless (2011), and the sci-fi action film Divergent (2014), based on the dystopian novel of the same name by Veronica Roth.[1][2]

Life and career[edit]

Neil Norman Burger was born in 1963 in Connecticut in the United States.

After graduating from Yale University with a degree in fine arts,[citation needed] Burger became involved with experimental film in the 1980s and went on to direct music videos for such alternative artists as the Meat Puppets.[citation needed] Burger approached MTV in 1991 with the idea to create and direct a series of promotional spots for what would be the MTV Books: Feed Your Head campaign against aliteracy.[citation needed] In association with Ridley Scott Associates, Burger directed commercials for companies such as Mastercard, IBM and ESPN, and created a series of television spots for Amnesty International and their campaign for prisoners of conscience.[citation needed]

Burger made his directorial feature debut with Interview with the Assassin in 2002, which he also wrote. The film won the Best Feature Film category at the Woodstock Film Festival and Avignon Film Festival, while receiving nominations for three Independent Spirit Awards including Best First Film and Best First Screenplay.[citation needed]

Burger’s follow up feature was The Illusionist starring Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti. Burger’s screenplay for the film was based on the short story "Eisenheim the Illusionist" by Steven Millhauser. The film premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and opened the 2006 Seattle International Film Festival and the 2007 Deauville Film Festival. The Illusionist was nominated for Best Screenplay at the 2007 Independent Spirit Awards and Best Cinematography at the 2007 Academy Awards.[citation needed]

Additional credits include the 2008 post Iraq War indie drama The Lucky Ones starring Rachel McAdams, Tim Robbins, and Michael Peña; and Limitless (2011), starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, which opened number one at the box office and grossed over $160 million worldwide.[3][4]

In 2014, Burger directed film Divergent, based on the novel by Veronica Roth. Shailene Woodley starred in the film alongside Theo James, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, and Ashley Judd. The film, released by Lionsgate, grossed over $280 million worldwide. Making it his most commercially successful film to date.

Following Divergent, Burger directed the first two episodes of Showtime’s Wall Street drama Billions, starring Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis. He then served as an executive producer on CBS’s TV adaptation of Limitless. Additional credits include the Divergent series films Insurgent (2015) and Allegiant (2016).[5]

Burger most recently directed The Upside,[6] a remake of the French hit The Intouchables. Starring Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart, the film was theatrically released in January 2019.[7]

Burger currently resides in New York City with his wife, the architect Diana Kellogg, and family.[2]


Year Title Director Producer Writer
1991 Books: Feed Your Head Yes No No
2002 Interview with the Assassin Yes No Yes
2006 The Illusionist Yes No Yes
2008 The Lucky Ones Yes Yes Yes
2011 Limitless Yes Executive No
2012 The Asset Yes No No
2014 Divergent Yes No No
2016 The Jury Yes No No
Billions Yes Executive No
2017 The Upside Yes No No
2021 Voyagers Yes Yes Yes

Executive producer only


  1. ^ Vineyard, Jennifer (1 August 2013). "Divergent Director Neil Burger Has an Advanced Copy of Allegiant, and He Hasn't Read it Yet". Vulture. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Weddings: Diane W. Kellogg, Neil N. Burger" (1997-06-01). The New York Times ( Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  3. ^ Davis, Edward. "Exclusive: Neil Burger Talks 'Limitless,' Working With Robert De Niro & Making Mid-Budgeted Sci-Fi | IndieWire". Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  4. ^ Cinema Fusion Archived 2008-02-18 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved on January 17, 2007
  5. ^ "Bride of Frankenstein comes to life-The Hollywood Reporter: Risky Business". 16 June 2009. Archived from the original on June 20, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-17.
  6. ^ McNary, Dave (2016-08-25). "Neil Burger to Direct Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston in 'Intouchables' Remake". Variety. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  7. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (2016-08-25). "Neil Burger To Direct Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart In TWC's 'Intouchables'". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-02-25.

External links[edit]