Peter Berg Recalls HANCOCK Beef With Breaking Bad's Vince Gilligan

Director Peter Berg ("Battleship"), recalls the time in which he had beef with Vince Gilligan, because the screenwriter left during the production of Hancock to start work on his little television show, called Breaking Bad. You might have heard of it.

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Director Peter Berg ("Friday Night Lights") was recently a guest on Bill Simmons' podcast, B.S. Report, and at around the 30-minute mark discusses his superhero film, Hancock, which starred Will Smith ("After Earth"), Charlize Theron ("Snow White and the Huntsman") and Jason Bateman ("Valerie/Valerie's Family/The Hogan Family"). During their discussion, Berg shared a story involving a dispute with, a then unknown, Vince Gilligan. A writer, who as you all know, went on to create one of the greatest television series ever, Breaking Bad. You can either listen to Berg's tale by clicking here or read the transcript below.

Transcribed by
Hancock was originally a script called Tonight He Comes, about a superhero alcoholic who could not make love because if he climaxed, he would kill a woman with the power of his climax. And it was really this kind of dark, twisted script. You know who wrote it? Vince Gilligan …

So I came on, and Will Smith is a perfectionist, and he will just drive writers into the ground. I say this with respect, but Will will do 10-12 hour meetings and by the time I got on, Vince had been heavily into the process with Will and his team. I came in and I didn’t really understand the history. Vince was going to go do another rewrite on the script. I didn’t realize this was probably rewrite 10, and I had heard that Vince had this TV show he wanted to go and do, and I was like, ‘Whatever. You have to finish this script. It was something about a chemistry teacher who gets cancer, and I was like, ‘Whatever, dude. You gotta finish the script.’

Vince finished the script, and I thought he was going to stay on and keep writing. But when he finished the script he was like, ‘OK. Alright, I’m out of here, and I’m going to go do this TV show.’ So I called Vince, and I was like, ‘What the hell? You can’t run out on us!’ I was at a Laker game, and I was talking kind of loud, and I was a bit intense. I was probably a little younger and more immature than I am today, and I was raging on at Vince, probably dropping a few F-Bombs at him.

There was a long pause, and he kind of accused me of being drunk. He’s like, ‘Pete, are you drunk.’ And I’m like, ‘No, I am not drunk. How can you leave us to go do your television show and your stupid idea. And I basically said fine, F-you, and I hung up.

And then I tried to get people to take my side, and I said, ‘Can you believe that Vince did this? And everyone was saying, ‘Vince Gilligan is the most decent human being we’ve ever met, Pete. Pete, we don’t understand what you’re talking about.’ I couldn’t get any support at all for my rage against Vince. Of course, it turned out that Vince knew what he was doing because it was Breaking Bad that he was going to do.

Will Smith (he Pursuit of Happyness) stars in this action-packed comedy as Hancock, a sarcastic, hard-living and misunderstood superhero who has fallen out of favor with the public. When Hancock grudgingly agrees to an extreme makeover from idealistic publicist Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman, Juno), his life and reputation rise from the ashes and all seems right again--until he meets a woman (2003 Academy Award® winner Charlize Theron, Best Actress, Monster) with similar powers to his and the key to his secret past.
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