YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Envelope Screening Series

'Lone Survivor': Peter Berg on bringing the book to the screen

November 20, 2013|By Oliver Gettell

Having acted in such films as "Collateral" and "Smokin' Aces" and directed movies including "The Kingdom" and "Battleship," Peter Berg is well-versed in the action genre. His latest film is the war drama "Lone Survivor," which he directed and adapted from former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell's nonfiction book of the same name, and it meant much more to the filmmaker than a chance to blow stuff up.

The film chronicles an ill-fated SEAL mission in Afghanistan in 2005 that claimed the lives of 19 American soldiers. At a recent installment of the Envelope Screening Series, Berg discussed what drew him to the book and doing the film.

"Somewhere along the way in my career I kind of realized that I'm attracted to the psychology of violence," Berg said. "I'm attracted to the idea of the mind-set of someone who's willing to go into an environment where any sensible human being would just be running the hell out of as quickly as they possibly could. I've been attracted to people who have that kind of self-reliance, that kind of courage, that kind of grace and poise under pressure. Marcus, in the book, captured that so perfectly. So for me, I read the book very quickly and my heart was racing.… This was my kind of thing, and I knew that I wanted it." 

VIDEO: Watch cast, crew discuss 'Lone Survivor'

Berg added that when he met with Luttrell about making the film, "I acted all cool, but I was really very nervous."

One of the major tenets Berg and Luttrell agreed on was getting the details right.

"Marcus and I talked a lot about attention to detail and how important that was to him and to anyone in the SEAL community," Berg said. "These guys have their own way of being that's so much different than us. It's everything from the way they eat their food to the way they give each other [a hard time] when they're playing around to the way they kill people. And the way they do that, all of that has its own unique, very specific set of rituals."

For more from Berg and Luttrell, watch the video above.


Scarlett Johansson in 'Her': Can she pull off an Oscar run?

Oscars honors Angelina Jolie, Steve Martin, Angela Lansbury

5 of Hollywood's rising young stars: Fame, and a lot of nerves 


VIDEO: Upcoming fall films

VIDEO: Upcoming fall films

The Envelope

ENVELOPE: The latest awards buzz

NC-17 movies

PHOTOS: Greatest box office flops


Los Angeles Times Articles