Peter Berg

Active - 1971 - 2021  |   Born - Mar 11, 1964 in New York, New York, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Crime, Action

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Biography by Rebecca Flint Marx

Onscreen from the late '80s, actor Peter Berg first made a memorable impression in A Midnight Clear (1992), playing one of a group of soldiers stationed in Germany during World War II. The muscular, strong-jawed actor had his real screen breakthrough with John Dahl's critically acclaimed The Last Seduction (1994), a neo-noir that cast him as Linda Fiorentino's unwitting, hormonally misguided accomplice. Berg's subsequent roles tended to be in films of middling quality, and it was for his work on the popular TV series Chicago Hope that he received the most recognition.

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 as a group of men behaving badly. The film, which was shown at the Toronto and San Sebastian Film Festivals, received a fairly mixed critical reception. Nonetheless, Berg continued to be a presence behind the camera. In 2000, he created Wonderland, an edgy dramatic television series set in an asylum. While the ABC show recieved rave reviews and garnered a cult following, it failed to deliver ratings and was quickly cancelled.

Berg finally found himself with a hit on his hands in 2003 with The Rundown. Starring The Rock and Seann William Scott, the Berg-helmed action comedy was well-received by critics and managed to score well at the box-office. In 2004, Berg began work on his third directorial effort, Friday Night Lights, a football film he also scripted that turned into the biggest ciritical hit of his career, as well as performing solidly at the box office. He followed that up with the military thriller The Kingdom in 2007, and the Will Smith sci-fi film Hancock in 2008. He had a hand in the script for the action revenge film The Losers, and in 2012 he helmed the big-screen adaptation of the beloved board game Battleship.

Movie Highlights

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  • Delivered pizzas in college and worked on the docks in San Pedro, CA, before breaking into acting (in a 1988 episode of the FOX drama 21 Jump Street).
  • Made his film debut in the 1989 buddy comedy Never on Tuesday.
  • His breakout TV role, Dr. Billy Kronk on Chicago Hope (1995-99), led to his writing and directorial debuts, both on the CBS medical drama.
  • Directed his first film, the dark comedy Very Bad Things, in 1998.
  • Was robbed at gunpoint while scouting locations in Brazil for the 2003 action flick The Rundown. (It ended up being filmed in Hawaii.)
  • Directed the 2004 drama Friday Night Lights, which was adapted from a nonfiction book of the same name by his cousin, H.G. "Buzz" Bissinger.