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Peter Berg

  • American actor
  • Born March 11, 1964

Peter Berg (born March 11, 1964) 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) and the action thriller Mile 22 (2018), the latter four all starring Mark Wahlberg.


I've been a big believer in musicians turned actor, going back to Sinatra winning the Oscar for 'From Here To Eternity.' David Bowie in 'Man Who Fell to Earth,' Kris Kristofferson's been great in a bunch of films. Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand, Mariah Carey, I thought was great in 'Precious.'




I've spent enough time with soldiers to know that once they get to know you and they loosen up and become themselves, they are some of the biggest hams and most charismatic, cocky, fun, humorous guys I've ever met.




Truth is, we offered it to Tom Hanks, which pretty much every movie in America does, but Tom passed. Billy Bob said that Hanks recently called and said he's voting for all of us for Oscars, he loved the film.




I somewhere along the way became fascinated with exploring characters who are willing to put themselves into violent situations, whether it's football, hockey, boxing, being a cop, being a soldier. There's not a lot of people who are willing to put themselves into those situations.




I'm a huge fan of the Navy. My father was a Naval historian, and I've been studying Naval battles forever.




There's a picture of the real Coach Gary Gaines in the book and he's sitting in the locker room after a game, and he just looks so much like Billy Bob, that we went to him.




I don't like alien films where you don't get to see the aliens.




I believe that anything in this world is fair game for a creative exercise.




When I look back at it, I'm mostly amazed at how poorly it was shot. David Kelley is a great writer, and I thought the scripts were great, but it just looks so cheap.




I had great luck with Tim McGraw twice in 'Friday Night Lights' and 'The Kingdom.' I love finding off-beat casting and finding someone you know in one way and you reinvent them in another way. I like doing that as a director.




I'm pretty upfront about my love and admiration for the military. One of the perks of making movies is that you get to sort of follow your own passions, and I believe quite passionately that we don't pay enough attention and respect to our veterans. Not just our wounded veterans, but all veterans.




I think musicians oftentimes have the right skill set to be good actors. And with Rihanna, I noticed her and knew of her obviously, and was very taken with her charisma and her confidence.




I wanted to do a naval film and I flirted with different ideas, most of which ended up being too intense. So when the idea of 'Battleship' was first suggested, I was instantly drawn to the challenge - could I invent a movie around the idea of five ships fighting five ships?




What first caught my eye about Rihanna was an interview she did with Diane Sawyer after the Chris Brown incident, where she was very articulate, very poised, obviously a smart girl who talked about a very traumatic experience.




Michael Mann's always been one of my heroes.




What kind of town do we want in the future, and how are we going to plan on that?




People know I love to shoot action and that I'm not afraid of emotion.




It's always an interesting sort of adventures that gets someone into a movie.




The big fun in 'Battleship' is that there are no current battleships in the Navy today. The battleships are about 1,000 feet long and they have huge guns. They were what you saw in WWII. The last battleship that was used was the Missouri, which is what the Japanese surrendered to.




Then they started pulling me in and I was very resistant. All the other actors would be saying write more, more dialogue for me, and I'd always be saying 'No, less, less'.




You know to me, being a good actor, the most important quality is you've got to love to play, and to just be open to anything.




I did not want 'Battleship' to be perceived as an American war film. I wanted to do everything I could to make the film accessible to a global audience. It felt like bringing an alien component to the film would help take the American jingoism out of it.




You might make a lot of money, but it's very hard to get out from under that rug. The more you can reinvent yourself, the better - and unfortunately TV is designed not to let you redesign yourself.




The first movie I literally ever made in my life was about two guys playing Stratego with each other. I had all my friends dressing up like the military characters in the game. So 'Battleship' is really my second board game turned movie!




I've had great success and I've had catastrophic failure. It's really how you handle the rough stuff that defines you, I think.



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