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14 Things You Might Not Know About ‘Fight Club’

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July 10, 2013 by Craig Sutherland


Fight Club is the 1999 film Directed by David Fincher starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter & Jared Leto. Here are a few titbits you might not know about it!
  1. Director David Fincher shot over 1,500 reels of film, more than three times the usual amount for a 120 minute film.
  2. Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) was originally going to recite a workable recipe for home-made explosives (as he does in the novel). But in the interest of public safety, the film-makers decided to substitute fictional recipes for the real ones.
  3. In the short scene when Brad Pitt and Edward Norton are drunk and hitting golf balls, they really are drunk, and the golf balls are sailing directly into the side of the catering truck.
  4. In Tyler Durden’s house there is a Movieline magazine cover featuring Drew Barrymore, a close friend of Edward Norton. The Blu-Ray edition of the film (released in November 2009) contains another “in-joke” reference to Barrymore; a fake menu for the film Never Been Kissed, which was released the same year as this film. Take a look at the menu in action here… 
  5. The original “pillow talk”-scene had Marla saying “I want to have your abortion”. When this was objected to by Fox 2000 Pictures President of Production Laura Ziskin, David Fincher said he would change it on the proviso that the new line couldn’t be cut. Ziskin agreed and Fincher wrote the replacement line, “I haven’t been fucked like that since grade school”. When Ziskin saw the new line, she was even more outraged and asked for the original line to be put back, but, as per their deal, Fincher refused.
  6. Author Chuck Palahniuk first came up with the idea for the novel after being beaten up on a camping trip when he complained to some nearby campers about the noise of their radio. When he returned to work, he was fascinated to find that nobody would mention or acknowledge his injuries, instead saying such commonplace things as “How was your weekend?” Palahniuk concluded that the reason people reacted this way was because if they asked him what had happened, a degree of personal interaction would be necessary, and his workmates simply didn’t care enough to connect with him on a personal level. It was his fascination with this societal ‘blocking’ which became the foundation for the novel.
  7. David Fincher claimed in an interview in UK film magazine Empire, that there is a Starbucks coffee cup visible in every shot in the movie (see also The Game) .
  8. To prepare for their roles, Edward Norton and Brad Pitt took basic lessons in boxing, taekwondo and grappling, and also studied hours of UFC programming. Additionally, they both took soap-making classes from boutique company Auntie Godmother. Prior to principal photography, Pitt also visited a dentist to have his front tooth chipped.
  9. The term ‘Paper Street’ refers to a road or street that has been planned by city engineers but has yet to be constructed. A paper street is sometimes published in common street directories by accident, but does not yet exist.
  10. When the Narrator hits Tyler Durden in the ear, Edward Norton actually did hit Brad Pitt in the ear. He was originally going to fake hit him, but before the scene, David Fincher pulled Norton aside and told him to hit him in the ear. After Norton hit him in the scene, you can see him smiling and laughing while Pitt is in pain.
  11. The producers considered both Matt Damon and Sean Penn for the role of The Narrator, but director David Fincher wanted Edward Norton, having been impressed by Norton’s performance in The People vs. Larry Flynt. At the same time, Norton had either been offered or was a final contender for three other major leading roles: in The Talented Mr. Ripley, Man on the Moon, and Runaway Jury (a project which ultimately fell apart). Norton eventually accepted the role in Fight Club. He and Jim Carrey did so well in auditions for the Andy Kaufman role in Man on the Moon that director Milos Forman told Universal he could not choose between them and the studio would have to make the final choice; they chose Carrey because he was a bigger box-office draw than Norton. Matt Damon took the lead role in The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Runaway Jury was put on hold for years until being revived with John Cusack as the lead.
  12. After director David Fincher was finished editing the film, the studio executives were baffled by the piece, and unsure how to market it. Fincher had wanted a highly unique marketing campaign which would mirror the film’s theme of anti-commercialism, but already worried about the possible backlash against the film, the Fox executives refused to go ahead with Fincher’s idea (two of Fincher’s trailers can be found on the DVD in the ‘Internet Spots’ section). Instead, a campaign was launched which was built largely upon the presence of Brad Pitt in the film, as well as concentrating on the fighting (which plays a minor role in the actual film itself). The campaign was highly criticized as giving the impression that the film was basically just about men beating each other up, completely ignoring the comic and satiric elements of the narrative, and for marketing the film to the wrong audience. David Fincher was particularly incensed when he saw ads for the film during WWE and UFC programming. Watch the Public Service Announcements here…  
  13. In the scene where Tyler is giving an inspirational speech to the Fight Club members, he says “We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars.” Right as he says “rock star,” he looks specifically at Jared Leto’s character. Jared Leto formed the band ’30 Seconds to Mars’ in 1998. Their last album went platinum.
  14. Tyler appears in the film five times before we clearly see him on the moving walkway at the airport. In the first four appearances, he flashes on screen for a single frame (1/24 of a second) and only when the Narrator has insomnia: at the photocopier at work; 

    in the corridor outside the doctor’s office, when the Narrator learns about the testicular cancer support group;

     

    at that group’s meeting;

     

    as the Narrator sees Marla leaving a meeting but doesn’t follow her.

     

    He can also be seen as a waiter in the presentation video of the hotel (he is the furthest waiter on the right).

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