It’s a gorgeous sunny day in Beverly Hills, Peter Berg is at the Four Seasons to talk about his latest film Patriot’s Day. In the same way, Sully tells the story of not just one hero, but many, Patriot’s Day does the same.
It tells the story of the Boston Marathon bombing and the manhunt that ensued to capture the brothers responsible for the terror. Berg’s film shows how the community of Boston united and strengthened the community, but it also depicts the heroes of law enforcement. Berg seamlessly combines real footage and surveillance footage in the film, giving it a real sense of authenticity.
“I saw how love ended up beating hatred,” Berg says. “The city came back and it was really powerful.” He continues, “These acts of terrorism are becoming a huge part of our world.” Acts of terrorism are stories we are getting used to seeing almost on a daily basis and Berg says, this story is “an example of how love ends up being the key weapon we use to survive that stuff.” That’s what he wanted to explore.
Patriot’s Day sees Berg reunited with Mark Wahlberg for the third time. “Mark and I having done three films have allowed a real friendship to develop.” He says when asked about how their collaborations have evolved over time. “I can tell him when I don’t like something he’s doing.” Berg says the critical feedback they give each other has no effect on their friendship but, “it makes it better. It’s been very rewarding… I know how he works, and I know he’s very serious.” Berg discusses how Wahlberg was so intensely involved in the story that, “he’d call me at 3 in the morning, he’d come into the editing room. He always cares, but on this one, it was a whole new level.”
Patriot’s Day also focuses on the unlikely hero of Dun “Danny” Meng, the citizen who was carjacked by the hijackers. It was during his research that Berg met Meng over a four-hour lunch and his story showed Berg that he “had the capacity of courage.” Meng’s story inspired him. A central character in the film, his story is immensely compelling.
Berg talks about his career in front of the camera acting on Chicago Hope and how he learned from that to be the director he is today. “When I was on Chicago Hope, I learned about the bad directors. They were feature film directors now working in TV, and they wanted to show that they could create these big crazy shots, and we’d sit around for hours waiting for this one line.” He continues, “Then you had the film school students who designed bigger shots.” Berg says he preferred the “relaxed ones.”
Patriot’s Day is on general release.
Take a listen to the Peter Berg podcast below: