Peter berg is dating

He gets this weird Cheshire cat smile if he draws blood from you.” Just a few years ago, such behavior might have gotten Berg mistaken for just another brash Hollywood ego run amok.

After all, this was the guy who followed up a tepidly received Will Smith superhero movie, , Berg has shunned comic book and Hasbro projects and pursued what he’s described as a personal mission: making films and TV shows that depict the struggles of extremely capable, very physical, (usually) real-life men.

He tells me he’s designed his gym to attract his kind of people and foster his brand of everyone-is-equal-in-the-ring values.

Police, fire fighters, EMTs, and active and retired military train for free. youth, and attracts “some pretty tough kids from the rougher areas of the city and some really wealthy West Side kids whose parents drop them off and say, ‘I want someone to punch my kid in the face.’” Movie types do drop by, but there’s no industry talk—Berg has banned it. “No one is looking for anything, it’s just a bunch of guys who love boxing.

Early on, he was a self-described spaz, channeling his massive energy reserves toward sports, fighting, and, often, making everyone around him anxious and miserable. “I was always looking at the guys who were kind of running at [conflict].

I always thought there was a lot of fun in that culture.” When Berg arrived in Los Angeles in 1985, he was determined to make it as an actor. He’d co-starred in the ski-bum-classic doc in the hospital-drama ratings war. “There wasn’t a club in Hollywood where I wasn’t the last one out,” Berg says.

But he also found himself slipping into what he called the “anti-working-man code.” He and his actor buddies would take pride in sleeping late, going to movies in the middle of the day, and tearing up the L. He was succeeding in his career, but he was restless.

He was spending too many hours “just fucking sitting around being bored out of my mind.” On the set of —a New York–area crime drama starring Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, and Harvey Keitel—Berg, then 32, decided he needed to make a change.

Peter Berg is stalking across a boxing ring—gloves up, head bobbing, sinews twitching—looking for an opening so he can unleash a flurry of punches into the torso of his opponent, a recently retired Navy SEAL.

“I was watching the director, James Mangold, and here’s this kid my age arguing with Stallone and Harvey Weinstein, and I asked him, ‘Dude, how did you get this? So Berg buckled down, returning to his small room at New York’s Essex House hotel every night and writing out scenes on note cards until they filled up the walls.

Two years later, the note cards became , a black comedy about a Las Vegas bachelor party that spirals terribly out of control.

, a big-budget film chronicling the chaos of the 2010 BP oil spill, from the perspective of the roughnecks who worked on the rig.

“He really has this unique, interesting mix of strong human empathy and machismo,” says Lorenzo di Bonaventura, the producer of the .

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And he routinely makes appearances on sports talk-radio shows, in school auditoriums, and on ideas-festival panels, where he promotes his own ideas of proper manhood.

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