Neil Burger

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Neil Burger
Neil Burger (cropped).jpg
Neil Norman Burger

OccupationFilm director, writer, producer
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 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]

After graduating from Yale University with a degree in fine arts, Burger became involved with experimental film in the 1980s and went on to direct music videos for such alternative artists as the Meat Puppets. 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. 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.

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.

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.

Additional credits include the 2008 post Iraq War indie drama The Lucky Ones starring Rachel McAdams, Tim Robbins, and Michael Pena; 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 will direct The Weinstein Company's The Upside,[6] the remake of the French hit The Intouchables. The Upside will star Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart.[7]

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


Name of the films Year Writer Director Producer Executive Producer
Books: Feed Your Head 1991 No Yes No No
Interview with the Assassin 2002 Yes Yes No No
The Illusionist 2006 Yes Yes No No
The Lucky Ones 2008 Yes Yes Yes No
Limitless 2011 No Yes No Yes
The Asset 2012 No Yes No No
Divergent 2014 No Yes No No
Insurgent 2015 No No No Yes
The Jury 2016 No Yes No No
Billions No Yes No Yes
Allegiant No No No Yes
The Upside 2017 No Yes No No


  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, 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]