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Peter Berg

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Peter Berg
Berg speaking at Wondercon in March 2012
Born (1964-03-11) March 11, 1964 (age 60)[1]
EducationThe Taft School
Alma materMacalester College
  • Director
  • producer
  • writer
  • actor
Years active1988–present
Notable workThe Rundown, Friday Night Lights, The Kingdom, Hancock, Battleship, Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, Patriots Day
Elizabeth Rogers
(m. 1993; div. 1998)

Peter Berg (born March 11, 1964)[1] is an American director, producer, writer, and actor. His directorial film works include the black comedy Very Bad Things (1998), the action comedy The Rundown (2003), the sports drama Friday Night Lights (2004), the action thriller The Kingdom (2007), the superhero comedy-drama Hancock (2008), the military science fiction war film Battleship (2012), the war film Lone Survivor (2013), the disaster drama Deepwater Horizon (2016), the Boston Marathon bombing drama Patriots Day (2016), the action thriller Mile 22 (2018), and the action comedy Spenser Confidential (2020), the latter five all starring Mark Wahlberg. In addition to cameo appearances in the last six of these titles, he has had prominent acting roles in films including Never on Tuesday (1989), Shocker (1989), The Last Seduction (1994), The Great White Hype (1996), Cop Land (1997), Corky Romano (2001), Collateral (2004), Smokin' Aces (2006), and Lions for Lambs (2007).

In television, Berg created the ABC series Wonderland (2000). He developed the NBC series Friday Night Lights (2006–2011), adapted from his film, earning two Primetime Emmy Award nominations. As an actor, he is best known for his role as Dr. Billy Kronk on the CBS medical drama Chicago Hope (1995–1999).[2]

Early life[edit]

Berg was born in 1964[1] in New York City, the son of Laurence "Larry" Berg,[3] a US Marine, and Sally (née Winkler) Berg.[4] Berg's father was Jewish, as was his maternal grandfather.[5] His mother was Christian.[6]

Through his mother, Berg is a second cousin of writer H. G. Bissinger, whose book Friday Night Lights provided the basis for Berg's film and TV series of the same name.[7][8][9] His mother co-founded a nonprofit directory of youth-focused charities named Catalog for Giving, and worked at a psychiatric hospital when Berg was growing up.[10] He has a younger sister, Mary.

Peter was a student in the Chappaqua School System. After graduating from The Taft School in 1980,[11] Berg attended Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he majored in theater arts and theater history. He graduated in 1984, and in 1985 moved to Los Angeles to pursue his film career.[citation needed]


Berg put his acting aspirations on hold when he first arrived in Los Angeles, choosing instead to learn about the film business as a production assistant. He acted in 21 Jump Street and Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story (both in 1988). He acted in Never on Tuesday, Miracle Mile, Race For Glory, Shocker, Heart of Dixie, Tale of Two Sisters and Going Overboard in 1989. He acted in Genuine Risk and Forradalom után in 1990. He appeared in Late for Dinner and Crooked Hearts in 1991. In the early 1990s, he appeared in A Midnight Clear, A Case for Murder, Fire in the Sky, Aspen Extreme, Across the Moon, Uneviled and F.T.W.

In 1992, Berg gained recognition for playing a World War II soldier in the film A Midnight Clear. In 1998, Berg made his feature directorial debut with Very Bad Things, a black comedy starring Jon Favreau, Christian Slater, Jeremy Piven, Daniel Stern, and Leland Orser. The film, which was shown at the Toronto and San Sebastian Film Festivals, received mixed critical reception. In 2000, he created Wonderland, an edgy dramatic television series set in an asylum. While the ABC show received rave reviews and garnered a cult following, it failed to deliver ratings and was quickly canceled.

In 2003, Berg directed the action comedy The Rundown. Starring Dwayne Johnson and Seann William Scott, the film received mixed reviews from critics and disappointed at the box office, only grossing $80 million of its reported $85 million budget. In 2004, Berg began work on his third directorial effort, Friday Night Lights, a football film based on the New York Times bestseller written by Buzz Bissinger.[12] In 2006, Berg developed and became executive producer of NBC's Peabody and Emmy Award-winning drama Friday Night Lights, which takes inspiration from the book and Berg's film of the same name, but features an original storyline and new characters.

He appeared in the war film Lions for Lambs (2007) as Lt. Colonel Falco. Berg followed up in 2007 with The Kingdom, a Michael Mann-produced action-political thriller set in Saudi Arabia, starring Academy Award winners Jamie Foxx and Chris Cooper, also with Jennifer Garner whom Berg met when he appeared in a two-part episode of Alias where he played Garner's ex-boyfriend. Berg's film Hancock, starring Will Smith, Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman, was one of the highest grossing films of 2008.

Berg directed the Hulu.com commercial featuring Alec Baldwin, which both The New York Times and Time named best spot of Super Bowl XLIII.[13] In 2009, Berg directed a two-hour pilot movie for the Fox television series Virtuality. Even though the show was not picked up for a full season, the pilot was released on DVD exclusively through Best Buy. Berg also directed the ESPN documentary 30 for 30: Kings Ransom in 2009. Berg also wrote the film The Losers (2010).

Berg also directed the science-fiction/action film Battleship (2012) and the war film Lone Survivor (2013), an adaptation of Marcus Lutrell's book of the same name.[14] Variety writer Justin Chang said Berg delivered "his most serious-minded work to date with Lone Survivor."[15] The following year, Berg acted as producer on the 2014 film Hercules, which he was originally slated to direct before being replaced by Brett Ratner.[16]

In 2013, Berg created the opening animation sequence for ESPN's Monday Night Football. The 80-second graphic featured Darth Vader, Pac-Man, President Ronald Reagan and highlights of MNF games from 1970 to 2012. In 2014, he directed the first two episodes of HBO's The Leftovers.

In 2016, Berg directed the film Deepwater Horizon, based on the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Berg replaced director J. C. Chandor, who had exited the film due to creative differences.[17] That same year, he directed CBS Films' Patriots Day, about the Boston Marathon bombing,[18] and the following year directed the action thriller Mile 22.[19] All three films starred Mark Wahlberg.

In 2017, Berg directed an ambitious commercial for Hyundai, which was recorded after the kickoff of Super Bowl LI and aired right after the game.[20] His Film 44 company was recently signed to a first look deal with Netflix, which saw the release of his most recent film Spenser Confidential, the director's fifth collaboration with Wahlberg.[21]

In 2019, Berg directed a historic commercial for the National Football League, "...football fans witnessed another milestone moment with the premiere of the NFL's Super Bowl commercial entitled The 100-Year Game. The two minute ad, which kicked off the celebration of the NFL's 100th season garnered the No. 1 spot in USA Today's Ad Meter with the publication describing it as "a tour de force starring an assemblage of many of the greats of NFL history."[22]

In 2024, Berg announced he was working on a film based on the book "The Mosquito bowl".[23]

Personal life[edit]

In 1993, Berg was married to Elizabeth Rogers; they divorced in 1998.[24][25] He has one child with her.

Caitlyn Jenner controversy[edit]

On July 15, 2015, Berg criticized ESPN's decision to honor Caitlyn Jenner with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award with an Instagram post in which he shared a Facebook photo of Army veteran Gregory D. Gadson (a double amputee who played a role in Berg's Battleship film) alongside one of Jenner. It said: "One Man traded 2 legs for the freedom of the other to trade 2 balls for 2 boobs. Guess which Man made the cover of Vanity Fair was praised for her courage by President Obama and is to be honored with the 'Arthur Ashe Courage Award' by ESPN?" Along with the shared post, Berg commented, "Yup."[26]

Berg received both praise and condemnation for the post. He later said he had the utmost respect for Jenner and other individuals with serious mental illness but released another photo with statistics on veterans suicides, stating, "I also believe that we don't give enough attention to our courageous returning war veterans, many of whom have sacrificed their bodies and mental health for our country and our principals [sic] – principals that include the freedom to live the life you want to live without persecution or abuse."[27]



Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1998 Very Bad Things Yes Yes No Also composer ("Walls Come Down")
2003 The Rundown Yes No No
2004 Friday Night Lights Yes Yes No
2007 The Kingdom Yes No No
2008 Hancock Yes No No
2010 The Losers No Yes No
2012 Battleship Yes No Yes
2013 Lone Survivor Yes Yes Yes
2016 Deepwater Horizon Yes No No
Patriots Day Yes Yes No
2018 Mile 22 Yes No Yes
2020 Spenser Confidential Yes No Yes

Executive producer

Producer only

Acting roles[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1988 Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story Bobby
1989 Never on Tuesday Eddie
Miracle Mile Band Member
Race for Glory Chris Washburn
Shocker Jonathan Parker
Heart of Dixie Jenks
Tale of Two Sisters Gardner
Going Overboard Mort Ginsberg as Pete Berg
1990 Genuine Risk Henry
Forradalom után
1991 Late for Dinner Frank Lovegren
Crooked Hearts Tom
1992 A Midnight Clear Bud Miller
1993 A Case for Murder Jack Hemmet
Fire in the Sky David Whitlock
Aspen Extreme Dexter Rutecki
1994 Across the Moon Lyle
Uneviled Drug dealer
F.T.W. Clem Stuart
The Last Seduction Mike Swale
Rise and Walk: The Dennis Byrd Story Dennis Byrd
1995 Heavyweights Chef (uncredited)
1996 The Great White Hype Terry Conklin
Girl 6 Caller No 1—Bob
1997 Cop Land Joey Randone
1998 Very Bad Things Doctor
1999 Dill Scallion Nate Clumson
2001 Corky Romano Paulie Romano
2004 Collateral Richard Weidner
2006 Smokin' Aces "Pistol" Pete Deeks
2007 Lions for Lambs Lt. Col. Falco
The Kingdom FBI Agent
2008 Hancock Doctor Uncredited
2011 POM Wonderful Presents:
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
Himself Documentary
2012 Battleship Sonar Mate Uncredited
2013 Lone Survivor Navy Personnel
2015 Trophy Kids Himself Documentary
2016 Deepwater Horizon Mr. Skip as Pete Berg
Patriots Day Guy opening MIT Door as Pete Berg
2018 Mile 22 Lucas as Pete Berg


Year Title Director Executive
Writer Notes
1994, 1997 Chicago Hope Yes No Yes Episodes "Colonel of Truth" and "Quiet Riot"
(as Peter W. Berg)
2000 Wonderland Yes Yes Yes Creator,
Episode "Pilot"
2006–2011 Friday Night Lights Yes Yes Yes Creator,
Episodes "Pilot" and "East of Dillon"
2009 30 for 30 Yes No No Episode "Kings Ransom," Also producer
Virtuality Yes Yes No TV movie
2009–2010 Trauma No Yes No
2011–2012 Prime Suspect Yes Yes No Episode "Pilot"
2014–2017 The Leftovers Yes Yes No Episodes "Pilot" and "Penguin One, Us Zero"
2015–2019 Ballers Yes Yes No Episode "Pilot"
2018 The People's Fighters:
Teofilo Stevenson and the Legend of Cuban Boxing
Yes No No Documentary film, also narrator
2019–2020 Dare Me No Yes No
2022 Victoria's Secret: Angels and Demons No Yes No 3 episodes,
Documentary series[28]
2023 Painkiller Yes Yes No
2024 God Save Texas No Yes No Documentary series
TBA The Green Beret's Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse No Yes No

Acting roles[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1988 21 Jump Street Jerome Sawyer Episode "Champagne High"
1995 Fallen Angels Augie / Joe Wales 2 episodes
1995–1999 Chicago Hope Dr. Billy Kronk 106 episodes
1996 The Naked Truth 1 episode
2002 The King of Queens Lil' Eddie Episode "Kirbed Enthusiasm"
Alias Agent Noah Hicks Episodes "Snowman" and "Masquerade"
2008 Friday Night Lights Morris "Mo" McArnold Episode "May The Best Man Win"
2008–2010 Entourage Himself Season 5 and Season 7
2011 Prime Suspect Deputy Chief Daniel Costello 2 episodes
2012 Californication Himself Episode "The Way of the Fist"
2014 The Leftovers Pete 2 episodes
2015–2017 Ballers Coach Berg 7 episodes
2017 Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television Himself Episode: "Eight Is the New Se7en"
2023 Painkiller Car Salesman 1 episode

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist
2003 "Addicted" Enrique Iglesias
2008 "Keeps Gettin' Better" Christina Aguilera
2012 "One More Night" Maroon 5
2014 "Maps"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Film Result
1996 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Chicago Hope Nominated
1997 Nominated
1998 Nominated
Deauville American Film Festival Award Fun Radio Trophy Very Bad Things Won
Grand Special Prize Nominated
San Sebastián International Film Festival Award Golden Seashell Nominated
2005 AFI Award Movie of the Year Friday Night Lights Won
ESPY Award Best Sports Movie Won
Teen Choice Award Choice Movie: Drama Nominated
USC Scripter Award Best Film
(Shared with Buzz Bissinger and David Aaron Cohen)
Young Artist Award Best Family Feature Film – Drama Nominated
2007 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series Nominated
Writers Guild of America Best New Series
(Shared with Bridget Carpenter, Kerry Ehrin, Carter Harris,
Liz Heldens, David Hudgins, Jason Katims, Patrick Massett,
Andy Miller, Aaron Rahsaan Thomas and John Zinman)
2008 Golden Eagle Award Best Foreign Film Hancock Nominated
2011 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Drama Series Friday Night Lights Nominated
2013 Golden Raspberry Award Worst Director Battleship Nominated
Worst Picture Nominated
Golden Trailer Award Best Summer Blockbuster 2012 TV Spot Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society Award Worst Film Nominated
Satellite Award Best Adapted Screenplay Lone Survivor Nominated
2014 Writers Guild of America Award Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Saturn Award Best Director Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Peter Berg biography and filmography". Tribute. Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  2. ^ Rebecca Flint Marx (2008). "Peter Berg". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2011-09-12.
  3. ^ "Laurence Berg obituary". The New York Times. May 3, 2015.
  4. ^ "Ad Meter". Ad Meter.
  5. ^ "Celebrity jews". 17 October 2003.
  6. ^ "Hollywood Now: Drew Barrymore Makes You Want to Call Your Best Friend & Bridget Moynahan Gets Hitched". 28 October 2015.
  7. ^ Mills, Bart (1994-02-28). "Walking Tall". Chicago Tribune.
  8. ^ "Caught in the Crossfire: Politics, Religion, Blockbuster Action Hold the Keys to This 'Kingdom'". Goliath.ecnext.com. Retrieved 2011-09-12.
  9. ^ Samuelson, Ruth (November 9, 2006). "Lights On or Off?". Houston Press.
  10. ^ "Peter Berg Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Yahoo!. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  11. ^ The Taft School, Berg and Smith Archived 2012-01-22 at the Wayback Machine, taftschool.org; retrieved July 24, 2011.
  12. ^ "Peter Berg Biography". Moviefone. Archived from the original on 2012-01-27. Retrieved 2011-09-12.
  13. ^ "ESPN 30 for 30". 30for30.espn.com. 1988-08-09. Retrieved 2011-09-12.
  14. ^ "Peter Berg Puts Lone Survivor on Hold to Sink My Battleship". Archived from the original on 2010-02-18. Retrieved 2010-03-13.
  15. ^ Chang, Justin (December 16, 2013). "'Lone Survivor' Review: Mark Wahlberg Stars in Peter Berg's Grueling War Drama". Variety. Variety Media, LLC. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  16. ^ Fleming, Michael (23 July 2008). "Peter Berg to direct 'Hercules'". Variety. Variety Media, LLC. Retrieved November 5, 2021.
  17. ^ Kit, Borys (January 30, 2015). "Peter Berg in Talks to Replace J.C. Chandor on 'Deepwater Horizon'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  18. ^ Kroll, Justin (August 4, 2015). "Peter Berg Eyes CBS Films' Boston Marathon Thriller 'Patriots' Day' (EXCLUSIVE)". variety.com. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  19. ^ Rizzo, Carita. "Mark Wahlberg, Peter Berg Talk Making a "Character-Driven Action Movie" with 'Mile 22'". Retrieved November 5, 2021.
  20. ^ Brady, Erik (February 2, 2017). "Hyundai's 'live' commercial puts deployed soldiers at Super Bowl with families". usatoday.com. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  21. ^ "'Spenser Confidential' Director Peter Berg Signs First-Look Deal With Netflix". The Hollywood Reporter. 2021-03-29. Retrieved 2021-03-30.
  22. ^ "'Making of the 100-Year Game' on NFL Network Offers Behind-The-Scenes Look at Award-Winning NFL Super Bowl Commercial". nflcommunications.com. Retrieved 2022-03-28.
  23. ^ "Peter Berg visits III Marine Expeditionary Force facilities, leaders". DVIDS. Retrieved 2024-05-23.
  24. ^ Spindler, Amy M. (August 29, 1995). "Fashion Hitches a Ride With Hollywood's Shining Stars". The New York Times. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  25. ^ Jordan, Pat (August 15, 2013). "Peter Berg Threw Himself Under a Bus. Now What?". The New York Times. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  26. ^ "Peter Berg Pissed Over Caitlyn Jenner: She Doesn't Deserve the Praise". TMZ. July 16, 2015. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  27. ^ Rosen, Christopher (July 16, 2015). "Peter Berg says he has 'utmost respect' for Caitlyn Jenner in new Instagram post". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  28. ^ Widjojo, Conchit (June 29, 2022). "Everything to Know About Hulu's Victoria's Secret Documentary: Release Date, How to Watch and More Details". WWD. Retrieved July 14, 2022.

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