MINNEAPOLIS — Initially Peter Berg set out to document something he's always been interested in.
"I'm a big football fan, I've done Friday Night Lights and other things in the football space," he said. "We were making a film following a football team and coaches, and that was sort of the idea."
Spurred by the killing of George Floyd, Berg said he wanted to feature the North High School Polars, who were coached by Minneapolis police officers.
That's until the shooting death of Deshaun Hill, the Polar quarterback, and one of the main stars in Berg's series.
"To see this young man brutally murdered, for absolutely no reason, was like getting hit by a freight train, and that became the dominant experience of the series," Berg said.
Even decades of experience, couldn't foresee the tragedy's uncanny timing.
"It's really unprecedented," Berg said. "You know I've been making films for a long time and I've never experienced anything like this. This was the most emotional and profound experience of my career. Early on in the season, we were at the Hill house with Tuesday his mother and Deshaun Senior his dad, and straight up unprompted, Tuesday was talking about her greatest fear--is that her son Deshaun was gonna get killed. Leaving school walking to the bus, and he smiled and laughed and said, 'you worry too much mom' and that's exactly what happened."
And Berg says he was nervous to show the Hill family the final product.
"It's very impactful and it's an absolute horror what happened to him," Berg explained. "So we just agreed we're gonna finish the film, show it to the community and the family, and see if we can get it right and make them feel as though they were glad. At least, if there was a silver lining, that we were there to capture this beautiful young man and save his memory."
Ultimately, Berg said the series is not a statement on anything, but more of a call to action on reflection from the audience.
"Maybe have an opportunity to increase their empathy and their thought process on everything from poverty, to football, to policing, to gun violence, to family," Berg said. "I think it's to look at all of those things."
Boys in Blue is available to stream on Showtime, and will premiere at 8 p.m. January 6th.
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