• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest
MAY
16
2 YEARS

'Battleship' Director Peter Berg Discusses Israel-Iran, Asks Israeli Interviewer if He's a Draft Dodger (Video)

In an interview ostensibly focused on his sci-fi board game mashup, the multi-hyphenate delved into the choppy seas of war and peace in the Middle East.

Peter Berg Headshot - P 2012
Getty Images

Battleship, Universal's new aquatic CGI smorgasbord, is about war, in so much as it involves the military and some major artillery. That said, it's not exactly a treatise on 21st century international politics; based on a board game and pitting angry aliens against humanity, questions of alliances, cultural misunderstanding and oil are largely set aside for a blast-the-invaders storyline. 

That does not mean, however, that director Peter Berg doesn't have some strong feelings on the matter.

In a junket interview with an Israeli reporter, Berg -- whose movie opened to great international ticket sales weeks ago -- Berg waded into Iranian nuclear containment.

Film Review: Battleship

"You have two men that are now dictating the policy toward Iran," he said, referring to Israel's Prime Minister and Defense Minister. "It's a real mess, because you've got to decide whether it's better to allow Iran to be armed or whether a nuclear Iran is less of a threat than an attacked Iran. If you attack Iran right now, they're going to attack you back. There's gonna be blood. Israelis will die, right?"

The interviewer, Jason Holt, passively agreed, but he couldn't have known that he'd be the target of the next line of questioning -- after, of course, Berg gave a cursory shout out to one of his stars, Rihanna.

After asking Holt if he'd served in the Israeli army -- Holt hadn't -- Berg asked, "Are you a draft dodger?" Then, he added, "You've go to join the army, motherf---ker!"

Holt, it turns out, is half Jewish on his father's side, as is Berg. And when pushed harder, Holt sunk Berg's battleship, saying, "we're not having this conversation."