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Peter Berg

Peter Berg

American actor, film director, producer and writer
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro American actor, film director, producer and writer
Countries United States of America
Occupations Actor Screenwriter Film director Film producer Television director Television producer Television actor
Gender male
Birth March 11, 1962 (New York City)
Education Macalester College, Taft School
The details

Peter Berg (born March 11, 1964) is an American director, actor, producer, and writer of film, television, and music videos. 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), and the Boston Marathon bombing drama Patriots Day (2016), the latter three 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 Cop Land (1997), Corky Romano (2001), Collateral (2004), Smokin' Aces (2006) and Lions for Lambs (2007).
In television, Berg developed the drama 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).

Early life

Berg was born in 1964 in New York City, New York, the son of Sally (Winkler) and Laurence "Larry" G. Berg. His father was Jewish, as was his maternal grandfather. 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. His mother co-founded a youth group named Catalog for Giving and worked at a psychiatric hospital when Berg was growing up. He has a younger sister, Mary. Peter was a student in the Chappaqua School System. After graduating from The Taft School in 1980, 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.


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 "The Rock" 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. In 2006, Berg developed and became executive producer of NBC’s Peabody and Emmy Award-winning drama Friday Night Lights, based on the novel and film of the same name.

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 biggest grossing films of 2008.

Berg directed the Hulu.com commercial featuring Alec Baldwin, which both The New York Times and Time magazine named best spot of Super Bowl XLIII. 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. Variety writer Justin Chang said Berg delivered "his most serious-minded work to date with Lone Survivor." Berg is developing a sequel to Hancock and producing a live-action version of the graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars.

In 2013, Berg created the opening animation sequence for ESPN's Monday Night Football. The 80-second graphic featured Darth Vader (from Star Wars), 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. Also that year, Berg directed CBS Films' Patriots Day, about the Boston Marathon bombing. Mark Wahlberg starred in both films.

Future projects

Berg is set to produce action thriller Mile 22 starring Iko Uwais and former UFC champ Ronda Rousey.

Personal life

In 1993, Berg was married to Elizabeth Rogers, an agent for Calvin Klein; they divorced in 1998. He had two children with her.

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."

After Berg received significant criticism for the post, he later clarified his remarks, saying he had the utmost respect for Jenner and transgender individuals; however, he released another photo with statistics on veteran suicide, 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.”




  • Very Bad Things (1998)
  • The Rundown (2003)
  • Friday Night Lights (2004)
  • The Kingdom (2007)
  • Hancock (2008)
  • Battleship (2012)
  • Lone Survivor (2013)
  • Deepwater Horizon (2016)
  • Patriots Day (2016)


  • Chicago Hope (1997) (TV series, episode "Colonel of Truth")
  • Wonderland (2000) (TV series, episode "Pilot")
  • Friday Night Lights (2006) (TV series, episodes "Pilot" and "East of Dillon")
  • 30 for 30 (2009) (TV series, episode "Kings Ransom")
  • Virtuality (2009) (TV movie)
  • Prime Suspect (2011) (TV series)
  • The Leftovers (2014) (TV series, episodes "Pilot" and "Penguin One, Us Zero")
  • Ballers (2015) (TV series)

Music Videos

  • Addicted (2003) (Enrique Iglesias music video)
  • Keeps Gettin' Better (2008) (Christina Aguilera music video)
  • One More Night (2012) (Maroon 5 music video)
  • Maps (2014) (Maroon 5 music video)


  • Chicago Hope (1994) (TV Series) (1 episode: "Quiet Riot" as Peter W. Berg)
  • Very Bad Things (1998)
  • Wonderland (2000) (TV series) (1 episode: "Pilot")
  • Friday Night Lights (2004)
  • Friday Night Lights (2006) (TV Series) (1 episode: "Pilot")
  • The Losers (2010)
  • Lone Survivor (2013)


  • Wonderland (2000) (Creator, Executive Producer)
  • Pu-239 (2006)
  • Friday Night Lights (TV Series) (Creator, Executive Producer)
  • Lars and the Real Girl (2007) (Executive Producer)
  • Trauma (TV Series) (2009) (Executive Producer)
  • 30 for 30 (2009) (1 episode: "Kings Ransom")
  • Virtuality (2009) (TV movie)
  • The Losers (2010)
  • Prime Suspect (2011) (Executive Producer)
  • Battleship (2012)
  • Lone Survivor (2013)
  • The Leftovers (2014) (TV series)
  • Hell or High Water (2016)


  • 21 Jump Street (1988) Jerome Sawyer in "Champagne High"
  • Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story (1988) Bobby
  • Never on Tuesday (1989) Eddie
  • Miracle Mile (1989) Band Member
  • Race For Glory (1989) Chris Washburn
  • Shocker (1989) Jonathan Parker
  • Heart of Dixie (1989) Jenks
  • Tale of Two Sisters (1989) Gardener
  • Going Overboard (1989) (as Pete Berg) Mort Ginsberg
  • Genuine Risk (1990) Henry
  • Forradalom után (1990)
  • Late for Dinner (1991) Frank Lovegren
  • Crooked Hearts (1991) Tom
  • A Midnight Clear (1992) Bud Miller
  • A Case for Murder (1993) Jack Hemmet
  • Fire in the Sky (1993) David Whitlock
  • Aspen Extreme (1993) Dexter Rutecki
  • Across the Moon (1994) Lyle
  • Uneviled (1994) Drug Dealer
  • F.T.W. (1994) Clem Stuart
  • The Last Seduction (1994) Mike Swale
  • Rise and Walk: The Dennis Byrd Story (1994) Dennis Byrd
  • Fallen Angels (1995) 2 episodes
  • Chicago Hope (1995–1999) Dr. Billy Kronk in 106 episodes
  • The Great White Hype (1996) Terry Conklin
  • Girl 6 (1996) Caller No 1—Bob
  • The Naked Truth (1996) 1 episode
  • Cop Land (1997) Joey Randone
  • Very Bad Things (1998) Doctor
  • Dill Scallion (1999) Nate Clumson
  • Corky Romano (2001) Paulie Romano
  • The King of Queens (2002) Lil' Eddie in "Kirbed Enthusiasm"
  • Alias (2002) - Agent Noah Hicks in "Snowman" and "Masquerade"
  • Collateral (2004) Richard Weidner
  • Smokin' Aces (2006) "Pistol" Pete Deeks
  • Friday Night Lights (2007) Morris "Mo" MacArnold in "May The Best Man Win"
  • Lions for Lambs (2007) Lt. Col. Falco
  • The Kingdom (2007) FBI Agent
  • Entourage (2008) Himself in Season 5 and Season 7
  • Hancock (2008) Doctor (Uncredited)
  • Californication (2012) Himself in Season 5 Episode 2
  • Battleship (2012) Sonar Mate (uncredited)
  • Lone Survivor (2013) Navy Personnel (uncredited)
  • The Leftovers (2014) Pete


  • Very Bad Things (1998) (song "Walls Come Down")

Awards and nominations

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 Nominated
Young Artist Award Best Family Feature Film - Drama Nominated
2007 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series Friday Night Lights 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 Nominated
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

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Early life Career Personal life Filmography Awards and nominations
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