Peter Berg

Last updated
Peter Berg
Peter Berg by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Berg speaking at Wondercon in March 2012
Born (1964-03-11) March 11, 1964 (age 59) [1]
Nationality American
Education The Taft School
Alma mater Macalester College
Occupation(s)Director, producer, writer, actor
Years active1988–present
Notable work The 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

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 youth group 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 commercial featuring Alec Baldwin, which both The New York Times and Time magazine named best spot of Super Bowl XLIII. [13] In 2009, Berg directed a two-hour pilot movie for a 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 "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 some highlights of MNF games from 1970–2012. 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, " 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]

Personal life

In 1993, Berg was married to Elizabeth Rogers; they divorced in 1998. [23] [24] He has one child with her.

Caitlyn Jenner controversy

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 his 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." [25]

Berg received both praise and condemnation for the post. He later said he had the utmost respect for Jenner and transgender individuals 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." [26]



YearTitle Director Writer Producer Notes
1998 Very Bad Things YesYesNoAlso composer ("Walls Come Down")
2003 The Rundown YesNoNo
2004 Friday Night Lights YesYesNo
2007 The Kingdom YesNoNo
2008 Hancock YesNoNo
2010 The Losers NoYesNo
2012 Battleship YesNoYes
2013 Lone Survivor YesYesYes
2016 Deepwater Horizon YesNoNo
Patriots Day YesYesNo
2018 Mile 22 YesNoYes
2020 Spenser Confidential YesNoYes

Executive producer

Producer only

Acting roles

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 Ginsbergas Pete Berg
1990 Genuine Risk Henry
Forradalom után
1991 Late for Dinner Frank Lovegren
Crooked Hearts Tom
1992 A Midnight Clear Bud Miller
1993A Case for MurderJack Hemmet
Fire in the Sky David Whitlock
Aspen Extreme Dexter Rutecki
1994Across the MoonLyle
UneviledDrug 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 DoctorUncredited
2011 POM Wonderful Presents:
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
2012 Battleship Sonar MateUncredited
2013 Lone Survivor Navy Personnel
2015Trophy KidsHimselfDocumentary
2016 Deepwater Horizon Mr. Skipas Pete Berg
Patriots Day Guy opening MIT Door"
2018 Mile 22 Lucasas Pete Berg


1994, 1997 Chicago Hope YesNoYesEpisodes "Colonel of Truth" and "Quiet Riot"
(as Peter W. Berg)
2000 Wonderland YesYesYesCreator;
Episode "Pilot"
2006–2011 Friday Night Lights YesYesYesCreator;
Episodes "Pilot" and "East of Dillon"
2009 30 for 30 YesNoNoEpisode "Kings Ransom"; Also producer
Virtuality YesYesNoTV movie
2009–2010 Trauma NoYesNo
2011–2012 Prime Suspect YesYesNoEpisode "Pilot"
2014–2017 The Leftovers YesYesNoEpisodes "Pilot" and "Penguin One, Us Zero"
2015–2019 Ballers YesYesNoEpisode "Pilot"
2018 The People's Fighters:
Teofilo Stevenson and the Legend of Cuban Boxing
YesNoNoDocumentary film, also narrator
2019–2020 Dare Me NoYesNo
2022Victoria's Secret: Angels and DemonsNoYesNo3 episodes;
Documentary series [27]
TBA The Green Beret's Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse NoYesNo

Acting roles

1988 21 Jump Street Jerome SawyerEpisode "Champagne High"
1995 Fallen Angels Augie / Joe Wales2 episodes
1995–1999 Chicago Hope Dr. Billy Kronk106 episodes
1996 The Naked Truth 1 episode
2002 The King of Queens Lil' EddieEpisode "Kirbed Enthusiasm"
Alias Agent Noah HicksEpisodes "Snowman" and "Masquerade"
2008 Friday Night Lights Morris "Mo" McArnoldEpisode "May The Best Man Win"
2008–2010 Entourage HimselfSeason 5 and Season 7
2011 Prime Suspect Deputy Chief Daniel Costello2 episodes
2012 Californication HimselfEpisode "The Way of the Fist"
2014 The Leftovers Pete2 episodes
2015–2017 Ballers Coach Berg7 episodes
2017 Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television HimselfEpisode: "Eight Is the New Se7en"

Music videos

2003"Addicted" Enrique Iglesias
2008"Keeps Gettin' Better" Christina Aguilera
2012"One More Night" Maroon 5

Awards and nominations

1996 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Chicago Hope Nominated
Deauville American Film Festival Award Fun Radio Trophy Very Bad Things Won
Grand Special PrizeNominated
San Sebastián International Film Festival Award Golden SeashellNominated
2005 AFI Award Movie of the Year Friday Night Lights Won
ESPY Award Best Sports MovieWon
Teen Choice Award Choice Movie: DramaNominated
USC Scripter Award Best Film
(Shared with Buzz Bissinger and David Aaron Cohen)
Young Artist Award Best Family Feature Film – DramaNominated
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 SpotNominated
Houston Film Critics Society Award Worst FilmNominated
Satellite Award Best Adapted Screenplay Lone Survivor Nominated
2014 Writers Guild of America Award Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Saturn Award Best Director Nominated

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Mile 22 is a 2018 American espionage action thriller film directed by Peter Berg and written by Lea Carpenter, from a story by Carpenter and Graham Roland. The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Iko Uwais, John Malkovich, Lauren Cohan, and Ronda Rousey. It follows an elite top secret CIA unit composed of paramilitary officers from the Special Activities Division's Ground Branch, that has to escort a high-priority asset, a rogue police officer, 22 miles to an extraction point while being hunted by the government. The film marks the fourth collaboration between Berg, Wahlberg, and Malkovich, following Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, and Patriots Day.

<i>Spenser Confidential</i> 2020 American action comedy film

Spenser Confidential is a 2020 American action comedy film directed by Peter Berg and with a screenplay written by Sean O'Keefe and Brian Helgeland. The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Winston Duke, Alan Arkin, Iliza Shlesinger, Bokeem Woodbine, Donald Cerrone, Marc Maron, and Post Malone and marks the fifth collaboration between Wahlberg and Berg after Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, Patriots Day, and Mile 22.

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