Did you know Tyler Durden appears several times before
being properly introduced in the movie. Want to know more? Then keep on
by: David Fincher
Chuck Palahniuk (novel)
Jim Uhls (screenplay) Starring: Edward Norton - The
Brad Pitt - Tyler Durden
Helena Bonham Carter - Marla Singer
Meat Loaf - Robert 'Bob' Paulson
Zach Grenier - Richard Chesler
Richmond Arquette - Intern
Jared Leto - Angel Face
Holt McCallany - The Mechanic
Eion Bailey - Ricky
Evan Mirand - Steph
Thom Gossom Jr. - Detective Stern
Peter Iacangelo - Lou
Author of the Fight Club novel, Chuck Palahniuk, first came
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.
According to Chuck Palahniuk, much of the specific content
the Fight Club novel (such as splicing single frames of pornography
films, attending support groups for the terminally ill, erasing video
tapes etc) came from stories told him by friends, and from things his
friends actually did. Whilst writing the novel, Palahniuk also
interviewed numerous young white males in white-collar jobs,
discovering that "the longing for fathers was a theme I heard a lot
about. The resentment of lifestyle standards imposed by advertising was
Chuck Palahniuk revealed that when he wrote the novel, he
actually know that Tyler and the Narrator were the same person until he
was two thirds of the way
through writing the story, at which point he noticed that they acted
together as one person and chose
to finish the story as such.
Director, David Fincher, has said that Fight
was a coming of age film, like The
Graduate (1967) but for people in their 30s. He described
the narrator as an "everyman"; the character is
identified in the script as "Jack", but left nameless in the film and
credited as just the Narrator.
The Narrator cannot find happiness, so he travels on a path
to enlightenment in which he must "kill" his parents, his god, and his
teacher Tyler Durden.
The Narrator's character walks through his apartment while
identify his many IKEA possessions. David Fincher described the
immersion, "It was just the idea of living in this fraudulent idea of
Studio executives worried that Fight
going to be "sinister and seditious", however, David Fincher sought to
make it "funny and seditious" by including humor to temper the sinister
Edward Norton has said, "I feel that Fight Club really, in
a way...probed into the despair and paralysis that people feel in the
face of having inherited this value system out of advertising."
Pitt has been quoted as saying "Fight Club is
a metaphor for the need to push through the walls we put around
ourselves and just go for it, so for the first time we can experience
Norton has been quoted as saying "We decided early
on that I would start to starve myself as the film went on,
while Brad Pitt would lift and go to tanning beds; he
would become more and more idealized as I wasted away."
Norton believed that the fighting between the men
strips away the "fear
of pain" and "the reliance on material signifiers of their self-worth",
leaving them to experience something valuable.
During rehearsals, Brad Pitt and Edward Norton found out
that they both hated the new Volkswagen Beetle with a passion, and for
the scene where Tyler and the Narrator are hitting cars with baseball
bats, Pitt and Norton insisted that one of the cars be a Beetle.
The Beetle was one of the primary symbols of 60s youth
and freedom. However, the youth of the 60's had become the corporate
bosses of the 60's, and had repackaged the symbol of their own youth,
selling it to the youth of another generation as if it didn't mean
anything. Both Norton and Pitt felt that this kind of corporate selling
out was exactly what the film was railing against, hence the inclusion
of the car.
In the Fight
Club DVD commentary Norton
explains the reason he hates the Beetle; "It's a
perfect example of the Baby Boomer generation marketing its youth
culture to us. As if our happiness is going to come by buying the
symbol of their youth movement, even with the little flower holder in
the plastic molding. It's appalling to me. I hate it."
Pitt is quoted on the DVD
saying he has since
change of heart about the new Beetle car.
Norton drew parallels between redemption in the film and
redemption in The
indicating that the protagonists of both films find a middle ground
divisions of self.
Pitt explained the disharmony in the Fight
Club story by
quoting, "I think there's a self-defense
mechanism that keeps my generation from having any real honest
connection or commitment with our true feelings. We're rooting for ball
teams, but we're not getting in there to play. We're so concerned with
failure and success—like these two things are all that's going to sum
you up at the end."
Clubpurposely shapes an ambiguous message, the
of which is
left to the audience. David Fincher elaborated, "I love this idea that
you can have fascism without offering any direction or solution. Isn't
the point of fascism to say, 'This is the way we should be going'? But
this movie couldn't be further from offering any kind of solution."
Producer Ross Bell met with actor Russell Crowe to discuss
candidacy for the role of Tyler Durden. Producer Art Linson, who joined
the project late, met with
another candidate, Brad Pitt. As Art Linson was the senior producer of
the two, the studio sought to cast
Pitt instead of Crowe. Bell has since said that he is glad Linson
stepped in, as he can't imagine anyone
being as good in the role as Pitt proved to be.
The studio believed Fight
Club would be more commercially successful
with a major star so they signed Brad Pitt and offered him a $17.5
For the role of the
nameless narrator, the studio desired a
marquee name" like Matt Damon to increase the film's
prospects; it also considered Sean
Penn. Fincher instead considered Edward Norton a candidate for the
role, based on the actor's
performance in The
Larry Flynt (1996).
Norton and Brad Pitt prepared for their roles by taking lessons
in boxing, taekwondo, grappling, and also studied hours of UFC
programming. Additionally, they both took soap
boutique company Auntie Godmother.
Although Edward Norton refused to smoke in Rounders
(1998), his character played
poker for cigarettes but did not smoke, he did agreed to smoke
for this film.
Edward Norton lost 17-20 pounds for this role after having
beef up tremendously for his role as a Neo-Nazi skinhead in American History X
achieved this form by running, taking vitamins and just ignoring the
Prior to principal photography, Brad Pitt voluntarily
dentist to have pieces of his front
teeth chipped off so his character would not have perfect
The pieces were restored after
For the role of Marla Singer, the filmmakers considered
and Winona Ryder as candidates early on. The studio wanted to cast
Reese Witherspoon, but
David Fincher objected that
Witherspoon was too young for the role. He chose to cast Helena Bonham
Carter based on her performance in The Wings of the Dove
(1997). In the end however, the decision was taken out of
Witherspoon turned down the role as being "too dark", and Bonham-Carter
According to Variety magazine, Sarah Michelle Gellar was
the role of Marla Singer in Fight
Club, but due to a locked contract with "Buffy the
Vampire Slayer" (1997),
she couldn't get the part.
the shooting of the film, Helena Bonham Carter
makeup artist (Julie Pearce) apply all of her eye makeup with her left
Bonham-Carter felt that Marla was not a person who would be
particularly skilled at (or concerned with)
correctly applying makeup.
According to Helena Bonham Carter, she based her
Singer on Judy Garland in the later stages of her life. To help her get
into the mindset,
director David Fincher would often call her Judy on-set.
Helena Bonham Carter wore platform shoes to help close up
disparity in height between her and Edward Norton and Brad Pitt.
Prior to filming, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter
visiting real support groups for the terminally ill, but they decided
against it, as due to the
satiric nature of the film, they didn't feel it was appropriate.
of Photography Jeff Cronenweth's sister, Christie Cronenweth appears in
the film as the airline check-in attendant who tells the Narrator he is
three hours early for his flight.
Kevin Scott Mack,
the Digital Domain visual effects supervisor, makes a cameo appearance
as the terrified guy with glasses in the plane crash scene.
Edward Kowalczyk, member of the band Live, plays the waiter
the Narrator and Marla with the line, "Sir, anything you want is free
of charge, sir."
Fox 2000 Pictures executive Raymond Bongiovanni,
who died shortly before the project was green-lit, first discovered the
Fight Club novel before it was officially published. Prior to his
Bongiovanni worked tirelessly to get the project off the ground, and in
his obituary, it said that his last wish was that the novel be made
into a film.
Raymond Bongiovanni sent the novel to Laura
Ziskin, President of Production at Fox 2000 Pictures. She felt it was a
tremendous piece of literature, but not necessarily a great movie. The
book was sent to a 20th century Fox studio reader to evaluate it's
potential as a possible film, and the report sent back to Ziskin
slammed the novel, saying it could never be made into a film, that it
was "exceedingly disturbing", "volatile and dangerous", and would "make
audiences squirm". Despite this however, Ziskin decided to go ahead
with the project temporarily and began to look around for producers who
might be willing to take it on.
This project was first offered to producers, Lawrence
and Art Linson, but they turned it down (although Linson would
ultimately return as producer). Next, it was offered to Joshua Donen
and Ross Grayson Bell of Atman Entertainment. They both loved it and
immediately agreed to produce it. Bell has since stated that the highly
critical report from the studio reader was all he needed to make him
want to work on the film, feeling every reason that the reader gave for
why the film couldn't be made, was another reason to make it.
Producers, Joshua Donen
and Ross Grayson Bell, organized a read-through of the book with some
who performed a roughly scripted version of the novel over the course
of a six-hour session, and he sent recordings of the session to the
still wavering Laura Ziskin. As soon as Ziskin heard the recording, she
agreed that a film adaptation could work, purchased the rights to the
novel for $10,000, and green-lit the project.
Author Chuck Palahniuk told the producers from the very
although he fully supported the adaptation, he wasn't interested in
writing the screenplay.
Initially, producer Laura Ziskin considered hiring screenwriter Buck
Henry to adapt the novel, due to
the many thematic similarities between and The
(1967), which had been
adapted from the novel of the same name by Henry. However, Jim Uhls was
ultimately chosen as the
writer ahead of Henry.
Screenwriter Jim Uhls started working on an early draft of
adapted Fight Club
screenplay, which excluded a
voice-over because the industry
perceived at the time that
the technique was "hackneyed and trite".
Three directors were offered the Fight
Club prior to
Peter Jackson was the initial choice of producers Joshua Donen and Ross
Grayson Bell, who had been impressed with Jackson's work on Heavenly Creatures
(1994) and The
Frighteners (1996). Jackson
however, although he loved the Chuck Palahniuk novel, was too busy
prepping The Lord of
the Rings: The
Fellowship of the Ring
(2001) in New Zealand. The second choice for director was Bryan Singer,
who was sent the book, but who never got back to the producers, he
later admitted he didn't read the novel when he received it. Next to be
offered the job was British director Danny Boyle, who met with Donen
and Bell, read the book, and loved the material, but who ultimately
decided to concentrate on The
(2000) instead. The producers then turned to David Fincher, who was in
post-production on The
(1997). Donen and Bell had been impressed with Fincher's work on Se7en
(1995), and thought he could bring something unique to the project.
However, Fincher was reluctant to work with 20th Century Fox again
after his negative experiences making Alien³
(1992), so a meeting was set up between Donen, Bell, Fincher, President
of Production at Fox 2000 Pictures Laura Ziskin and 20th Century Fox
studio head Bill Mechanic, where Fincher's relationship with the studio
was restored, and he was hired to direct the film.
When David Fincher joined to direct the film, he
that the film should have a
voice-over, believing that the film's humor came from the narrator's
voice. He described the film without a voice-over as seemingly "sad and
pathetic". so David Fincher and Jim Uhls revised the script for six to
and by 1997
had a third draft that re-ordered the story and left out several major
Brad Pitt was concerned that his character, Tyler Durden,
one-dimensional so David Fincher sought the advice of
writer-director Cameron Crowe, who
suggested giving the character more ambiguity. David Fincher also hired
screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker for
assistance. David Fincher invited Brad Pitt and Edward Norton to help
revise the script, and the group
drafted five revisions in the course of a year.
Author, Chuck Palahniuk, praised the faithful film
his novel and
applauded how the film's plot was more streamlined than the book's.
Palahniuk recalled how the
writers debated if film audiences would believe the plot twist from the
novel. David Fincher
supported including the plot twist, arguing, "If they accept everything
up to this point, they'll accept
the plot twist. If they're still in the theater, they'll stay with it."
Author, Chuck Palahniuk named Tyler Durden after the
Toby Tyler in Toby
Tyler, or Ten
Weeks with a Circus (1960),
and a man called Durden with whom Palahniuk worked, who was fired for
sexual harassment. Marla Singer was named after a young girl called
Marla who used to beat up Palahniuk's sister in school.
The Narrator finds redemption at the end of the film by
Durden's dialectic, a path that diverged from the novel's ending in
which the Narrator is placed
in a mental institution.
David Fincher considered the Fight Club novel too
changed the ending to move away from him: "I wanted people to love
Tyler, but I also wanted them to be
OK with his vanquishing."
Much confusion exists about the Narrator's name as it is
mentioned throughout the movie. Many believe it's Jack due to his use
of the phrase "I am Jack's...", but others argue that he only uses the
name Jack because that was the name he saw in magazine "Annotated
Reader". Interestingly, in the press packages released for the
movie, which came in the form of an IKEA-esque catalog, the
character is referred to as Jack, as he is on the back of the DVD, and
in the booklet accompanying the DVD, where the Chapter list is referred
to as "Jack's Chapters". Also, the original screenplay by Jim Uhls
refers to him as Jack. On the other hand, in the closed captions for
the film, he is referred to as Rupert.
Studio executives Mechanic and Ziskin planned an initial
million to finance Fight
Club, but by the start of production, the budget
increased to $50 million. Half was paid by New Regency, but during
filming, the projected budget escalated to
Filming lasted 138 days, with over 300 scenes shot on 200
72 sets constructed by production designer Alex McDowell. David Fincher
more than 1,500 rolls of film, more
than three times the usual amount for a 120 minute film.
were in and around Los Angeles and on sets built at the studio in
Century City. Production
designer Alex McDowell constructed more than 70 sets.
Club was filmed
mostly at night and David Fincher purposely filmed the
daytime shots in shadowed locations. The crew equipped the bar's
basement with inexpensive work
lamps to create a background glow.
In conjunction with director David Fincher, first time
photography Jeff Cronenweth decided to shoot the film using spherical
lenses instead of the more
common anamorphic lenses.
This was primarily because many scenes where to be shot on practical
locations using practical lighting, which wouldn't provide enough
luminosity for an anamorphic
lens to capture the image (anamorphic lenses require more light that
spherical lenses for correct
exposure). The disadvantage of shooting with spherical lenses is that
the negative has
to be blown up for the extraction process (unlike an anamorphic
negative), meaning that the
final print has a grainier texture than that shot using anamorphic.
However, both Fincher and
Cronenweth felt that this extra grain actually suited the tone of the
film, and no attempts were made
to clean it up or reduce it in the post-production process.
When the film stock was processed, several techniques were
alter the look of the footage and increase the 'grubbiness' of the
image. Under the
supervision of director David Fincher and director of photography Jeff
Cronenweth, the contrast was
stretched, the print was underexposed, re-silvering was used to
increase density, and
high-contrast print stocks were stepped on the print to create a layer
of 'dirt', which Fincher likens
to a "dirty patina."
Director David Fincher initially wanted to include a single
of Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) during the 20th Century Fox logo, but the
department wouldn't clear him to do so. He then tried to include the
image during the Regency Enterprises
logo, but Arnon Milchan (President of Regency) also wouldn't allow him.
The scenes with Tyler Durden were staged to conceal that
was a mental projection of the nameless narrator. The character was not
filmed in two shots with a group of
people, nor was he shown in any over the shoulder shots in scenes where
Tyler gives the narrator specific
ideas to manipulate him. In scenes before the Narrator meets Tyler, the
filmmakers inserted Tyler's
presence in single frames for subliminal effect. Tyler appears in the
out of focus, like a "little devil on the shoulder". David Fincher
explained the subliminal frames:
"Our hero is creating Tyler Durden in his own mind, so at this point he
exists only on the periphery of
the narrator's consciousness."
film's title sequence is a pullback from the fear center of the
Narrator's brain, and is supposed to represent the thought processes
initiated by the Narrator's fear impulse. The 90-second sequence was
conceived by director David Fincher and budgeted separately from the
rest of the film. The studio told Fincher that they would only finance
the elaborate sequence if the film itself was any good. After seeing a
rough cut, they decided they were happy and so the sequence went ahead.
The CG brain was mapped using an L-system, with renderings by medical
illustrator Kathryn Jones, and was designed by Kevin Scott Mack of
The reverse-tracking shot out of the trash can, which was
animated sequence, was the very last shot to be added to the film. It
required so much processing
time that it almost had to be spliced in "wet", i.e. fresh from the
lab, so that the film could
be duplicated on schedule. Due to the amount of reflective surfaces in
the shot, it took almost 8
hours to render a single frame. The entire shot took 3 weeks to render.
Tyler Durden appears several times before he's actually
introduced. In the first four appearances, he flashes on screen for a
single frame (1/24 of a second):
When the Narrator is by the photocopying machine, near the beginning
of the film, we suddenly see a single frame flash of Tyler.
the corridor outside the doctor's office, when the Narrator learns
about the Testicular Cancer support group, Tyler appears for a
single frame in the background.
During the scene when the Narrator is at the Testicular Cancer
support group meeting, Tyler
makes another single frame appearance.
When the Narrator sees Marla leaving a meeting, he watches her walking
down an alleyway when
Tyler makes his final single frame appearance.
At the airport, the Narrator
says "Could you wake up as a different
person?" and the camera briefly follows Tyler.
Narrator works at Federated Motor Corporation, in the Compliance and
Liability division. FMC is located at 39210 North Pennfield Boulevard
in Bradford, the state is not specified.
the scene where the Narrator is sitting on a toilet,
down while reading an IKEA catalog, Edward Norton is actually
completely nude from the waist down.
Norton talks about it on the DVD commentary to which David Fincher says
"really?" Norton then
says "Did you notice I never had to go to the bathroom that day?"
The interior layout of the Narrator's apartment was based
an apartment which director David Fincher lived in when he first moved
to LA. Fincher decided to
model the location on this apartment because he claims that whilst he
was living there, he always
wanted to blow it up.
Apparently during the shooting of the first group scene,
Andrews) talks about his wife getting pregnant with another man, an
extra became so offended by the
subject matter that he stormed off set, refusing to be paid.
Meat Loaf, who plays Bob Paulson, who has "bitch tits",
wore a 90-pound (40 kg) fat harness that gave him large breasts for the
role. He also
wore eight-inch (20 cm) lifts in his scenes with Norton to be taller
Make up artist Rob Bottin had to build two different fat
Loaf - one with nipples, one without - because the filmmakers weren't
sure if 20th Century Fox
would approve the suit with the prominent nipples.
To ensure that Bob's (Meat Loaf) breasts and love handles
correctly, his fat suit was filled with birdseed, so that it would
'spill' over his pants and give the
impression of sagging flesh. Altogether, the suit plus the seed weighed
over one hundred pounds.
One of the fake names, Cornelius, used by the Narrator in
self-help groups is taken from Planet
of the Apes(1968), he also took the name of Robert De
character, Rupert, in The
The cave scene early
in the film where the Narrator meets a
penguin was inspired by the film The
Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), and was intended by
director David Fincher as a 'warning' to the audience as to how surreal
the film was going to
The breath in the cave scene is recycled Leonardo DiCaprio
(1997), which was composited into the shot.
Singer (Helena Bonham Carter) says she goes to support groups because
"It's cheaper than a movie, and there's free coffee". In Margaret's Museum
(1995), starring Helena Bonham Carter, Kate Nelligan says she goes to
funerals because it's cheaper than bingo, and there's free food.
Marla Singer's phone number, 555-0134, is the same as
number in Memento
is also the same as the Hong Kong Restaurant in Harriet the Spy
Alden's in Someone Like
(2001) and a Mental institution in an episode of "Millennium" (1996).
The burnt out
car that the Narrator examines is a 1990 Lincoln Town Car. It's
also the same car the Narrator and Tyler crash later in the film.
Additionally, Tyler says he'd like to fight Abraham Lincoln.
the Narrator is watching the promotional hotel video in
(during his description of 'single serving friends') an army of
white-jacked servants come on the TV screen to welcome the guest to
their happy place of business. Front row, far
right happens to be Brad Pitt. As stated by Pitt on the DVD
commentary, this is in no way to further the plot, it was just a silly
inclusion that no one seems to catch.
On the airplane the Narrator mentions to Tyler that they
briefcase. And although Tyler opens his, we never see the contents of
block that the Narrator lives in is called "Pearson Towers", and the
motto is "A place to be somebody" which is the city motto for
Wilmington, Delaware, this is where the story in novel is set, and
where the film was going to be set until the production ran into
trouble with legal clearances. There really is a Paper Street in
Wilmington, Delaware, but there's no street number 1537 as the numbers
on the street don't go that high.
When Tyler calls the Narrator back on the pay phone, the
camera slowly tracks in towards the phone. On the left of the phone, a
notice can be seen saying "No
incoming calls allowed." This is one of the first clues as to
what revealed later in the film.
Director, David Fincher, shot 38 takes of the scene between
(Brad Pitt) and the Narrator (Edward Norton) in Lou's Bar after the
has blown up. Each take was filmed with two cameras, and for every
individual take, Fincher would
give the actors a rough idea of what to do, and they would improvise
most of the dialogue. The scene
as it exists in the finished film is made up of segments from numerous
different takes and
much of the dialogue, especially Tyler's dialogue, was completely
ad-libbed on set.
The scene where Tyler (Brad Pitt) splicing the few frames
into a family film shown in the theater is a reference to Persona (1966),
where in the
few random images are shown into a projected film, including that of an
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.
The brown station wagon against which Edward Norton falls
in his first
fight with Brad Pitt is the same brown station wagon used in The Game (1997),
in which Michael
Douglas hid while James Rebhorn drove him to CRS headquarters. The car
has a CRS sticker on the
windshield, although David Fincher mentions on his
DVD commentary that the sticker cannot be seen in the actual film.
When Tyler and the Narrator are fighting and a crowd
around them, no one
intervenes, but instead look rather bemused.
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.
The short scene showing Tyler and The Narrator hitting golf
house is actually footage of Edward Norton and Brad Pitt really drunk
and hitting things at the on-site
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
(1999), which was
released the same year as this film.
sex scene between Tyler (Brad Pitt) and Marla (Helena Bonham Carter)
was shot using the same 'bullet-time' technique used in The Matrix
(1999); stills cameras were set up in a circle around the bed, and each
one would take a single shot in sequence. These single frames were then
edited together and enhanced with CG, as both Pitt and Bonham Carter
were fully clothed in motion capture suits during the shoot.
During the shooting of the sex scene, actors Brad Pitt and
Bonham Carter posed in 10 different positions from the Kama Sutra.
Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter spent three days
sounds for their unseen sex scenes.
original "pillow talk"scene had Marla
saying "I want to have your
abortion". When this was objected to by Fox 2000 Pictures President
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
When Laura 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,
When Tyler (Brad Pitt) catches the Narrator (Edward Norton)
at the door as he has sex with Marla (Helena Bonham Carter), he is
wearing a rubber glove. This
was Brad Pitt's idea, and caused a great deal of controversy with
President of Production at Fox
2000 Pictures, Laura Ziskin. She was horrified when she saw the scene
and demanded that it
be removed. However at a subsequent test screening, the appearance of
the glove got the biggest
laugh of the whole movie, prompting Ziskin to change her mind.
In the scene where Tyler Durden leaves the fight club, the
is playing in the background. The director of that movie is
David Fincher and in which Brad Pitt stars.
(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
filmmakers decided to substitute fictional recipes for the real ones.
the Narrator is writing haiku poems at work and sending them to
coworkers, the names on the email list include those of Production
Assistants and other crew members.
When the Narrator comes back from work, Tyler can
Marla upstairs having sex. The phone rings and when the Narrator picks
it up the boisterous
romping upstairs abruptly stops. This is another hint of what is
revealed later in the film.
The fight scenes were heavily
but the actors
required to "go full out" to capture realistic effects like having
wind knocked out of them. Makeup artist Julie Pearce, who
the director on The
Game (1997), studied mixed martial arts and
pay-per-view boxing to
portray the fighters
accurately. She designed an extra's ear to have cartilage missing,
citing as inspiration the boxing match
in which Mike Tyson bit off part of Evander Holyfield's ear.
David Fincher avoided stylish camera work when filming
scenes in the basement and instead placed the camera in a fixed
position. In later fight scenes, he moved the camera from the
of a distant observer to that of the fighter.
Makeup artists devised two methods to create sweat on cue:
mineral water over a coat of Vaseline, and using the unadulterated
water for "wet sweat".
When the Narrator gets on the bus with Tyler, he only pays
When Tyler and the Narrator are on the bus, the long-haired
past Tyler without a word, then says "excuse me" as he pushes past the
The scene where the Narrator's boss (Zach Grenier) finds
Fight Club in the photocopier and the Narrator points out that whoever
wrote it is
obviously dangerous and might one day storm through the building
shooting everyone, proved to be a highly
controversial scene for the filmmakers. In early test screenings, the
scene got huge laughs and
scored extremely highly with audiences. However, these screenings
happened before the Columbine
massacre. In all screenings after Columbine, the scene evoked no
laughter whatsoever and
scored extremely poorly, with audiences commenting that they felt it
was in bad taste. This
prompted the studio to ask director David Fincher to cut the scene
altogether. Fincher considered
doing so, but because the scene leads into the pivotal Marla
breast-cancer scene, he decided that
it couldn't be cut.
When the Narrator and Tyler enter Lou's Tavern, the
enters first and the guy out
the front only acknowledges the Narrator, as though Tyler doesn't even
When Lou sees the Fight Club members in the basement of his
Lou punches Tyler in the stomach. When Tyler gets punched, you can see
the Narrator double over
slightly as if he too was punched in the stomach. A few shots later,
Lou kicks Tyler in the face
while he is kneeling, and in the background we see the Narrator's head
go back at the moment of
In the scene where Tyler is giving an inspirational speech
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" at 1:11:00, he looks
specifically at Jared Leto's character. Jared Leto formed the band '30
Seconds to Mars' in
1998. Their last album went platinum.
During the brief scene when one of the Fight
priest with a hose in order to start a fight, the camera briefly
shakes. Apparently this happened because the cameraman couldn't keep
As noted during Author Chuck Palahniuk and Screenwriter Jim
commentary, the seminary student/priest hosed by the mechanic is
ultimately the winning
combatant in the fight sequence immediately following the scene in
which narrator beats himself up in
front of his boss.
When Tyler and the Narrator are hitting cars with baseball
hits the first car first, but the alarm is triggered only after the
Narrator hits it.
line that Tyler Durden says, "You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap
of the world" is inspired by the book "Also Sprach Zarathustra" by the
German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.
When the Narrator enters the house prior to seeing the news
the happy face on the building, he is carrying one of Project Mayhem's
pulled their name from the coffee shop destruction scene. They didn't
mind the director placing their product throughout the film, but did
not want their name to be destroyed in that scene. Therefore, the gold
globe crashes into a shop named Gratifico Coffee.
The scene involving the destruction of the corporate
huge ball crashes into the coffee shop) was the most troublesome scene
to shoot in the whole film.
Initially, director David Fincher had wanted to the scene to feature an
entirely CG ball on live
plates, but visual effects supervisor Kevin Tod Haug convinced him to
try shooting it as a live
special effect instead. As such, special effects coordinator Cliff
Wenger was placed in charge of
the scene. Problems began to arise when Wenger discovered that the
flooring at the location could
only take 250 pounds per square foot. As such, a lightweight ball (100
pounds) had to be built
to ensure no damage was caused. However, because the ball was so light,
it didn't react the way
a heavy ball would. In the end,
digital effects company Toybox was given the entire scene with orders
to do a major cleanup on
the live footage. For the rolling shots, they removed the ball
bouncing, added furniture which the ball
violently knocks out of its way, added pavement cracks in the wake of
the ball, added
flickering lights, added additional splashes and a wake as the ball
moves through the water, and added a
digital camera shake. For the café shots, they completed the
destruction of the counter, added flying
glass and furniture, added flickering lights, and again, added digital
vibration to the camera. In
the end, although the majority of the actual scene is live photography,
almost all of the
minor effects in the shots are completely digital.
When the airport valet lends Tyler and the Narrator the
addressing "Mr. Durden" he is looking straight at the Narrator. The
Narrator and Tyler
get in the car through the same door. After the crash where Tyler was
driving, Tyler pulls the Narrator
out of the driver's side of the car.
After the car crash, the
Narrator has a bruise on his head. When the Narrator wakes up the 'next
morning' the bruise is
completely gone. Whilst some see this as a continuity error, others
argue that it indicates more time
has passed than just one night (in fact, the Narrator wasn't asleep at
all, he was all over the
country setting up fight clubs).
When the Narrator comes downstairs in his house, after
asleep following the car crash, he enters the kitchen and Steph (Evan
Mirand) is slapping a
Space Monkey, shouting at him about how worthless he is. Whilst
shooting this scene, the original
extra playing the Space Monkey got so fed up with being slapped that he
stormed off set and had to be
replaced. The actor seen in the finished film is the replacement actor.
Narrator is trying to convince Marla Singer to leave the city by bus,
the crew arranged cinema signs to make references to other films the
been in, although only one is visible during the actual scene.
Seven Years in Tibet
(starring Brad Pitt) is visible, although the sign letters actually say
"Seven Year In Tibe" as if the theater didn't have the required
letters. Other marquees (in the far background, and not visible)
reportedly said The
People vs. Larry
Flynt (1996) (starring Norton) and The Wings of the Dove
(starring Helena Bonham Carter).
When the Narrator turns himself in to the police and
of Project Mayhem (near the end of the film), he is interrogated by
four detectives. The three that
then try to kill him are named in the credits as Detectives Andrew,
Kevin and Walker. Andrew
Kevin Walker penned the script for Se7en(1995), which David Fincher also directed and he also
some uncredited work on this film.
The shot surveying Project Mayhem's destructive equipment
underground parking lots was a three-dimensional composition of over
100 photographs of Los Angeles
and Century City by special effects photographer Michael Douglas
Fincher took 12 takes of the stuntman rolling down the stairs for the
fight between the Narrator and Tyler at the end of the film. The take
used in the movie is the very first one.
The shot of the Narrator shooting himself was originally to
shot practically using synchronized high speed photosonic cameras, a
makeup supervisor Rob Bottin and live footage of actor Edward Norton.
However, the filmmakers
couldn't get the shot to look right, so at the last minute they decided
to do the scene primarily CG
instead of live. Ultimately, live footage of Edward Norton having
180psi of air shot
into his mouth (to make his cheeks blow out) was used, but apart from
the actual face, the only
element of the shot which is real is the spurt of blood coming out of
his mouth, everything else is
The final shot of the collapsing credit bank buildings was
Richard 'Dr.' Baily, who worked on the shot for over 14 months
straight. According to director
David Fincher, there are almost 4 million separately animated digital
elements in the shot.
The buildings that blow up in the end are all Fox-owned
digitally composited into the shot. It was feared that they would
invite legal action against the
production if they portrayed real credit card companies blowing up.
In the closing seconds of the film after the camera pulls
exploding buildings, a single frame of male genitalia can be seen
briefly like Tyler added in his projectionist job.
slam on dish' shot used in the trailer took 41 takes to get right.
After the 40th take, director David Fincher realized that the soap was
sliding out of frame and so he settled for a fake soap prop.
After director David Fincher was finished editing the film,
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
particularly incensed when he saw ads for the film during WWE and UFC
Rupert Murdoch despised the Fight Club project and clashed
Bill Mechanic over putting it into production. The film's disappointing
box office returns
relative to cost were a major reason for Mechanic's departure from this
job not long after its
In an infamous incident, the Friday that Fight
theatrically in the United States, Rosie O'Donnell appeared on her TV
show and revealed that she had seen
the film earlier in the week, and had been unable to sleep ever since.
She then proceeded to
give away the twist ending of the film and urged all of her viewers to
avoid the movie at all costs.
Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and David Fincher discuss this incident on
their DVD commentary track,
with Pitt calling 'O'Donnell's actions "unforgivable".
was one of
the most controversial and talked-about films of
The typeface used for the titles and logo is named "Fight
The movie line "The first rule of Fight Club is you do not
about Fight Club" was no. 27 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by
Premiere in 2007.
During an exterior shoot in an urban residential area, a
the apartments above the working film crew got so annoyed with the
noise that he threw a 40 oz.
beer bottle at them. The bottle hit director of photography Jeff
Cronenweth, who, although he
was cut open, was not seriously injured; the man was arrested shortly
Apparently during the shooting of the night exteriors of
house in San
Pedro, the helium balloon lights which were floated above the house by
director of photography
Jeff Cronenweth prompted a number of UFO sightings, resulting in the
Lomita Sheriff's Department
visiting the set to inquire what was going on.
After the copyright warning on the
DVD, this is then immediately followed by an Attention warning.This
warning is from Tyler Durden, and is only there for a second. The
message says, "If you
this then this warning is for you.
Every word you read of this is useless fine print is another second off
your life. Don't you have other things to do? Is your life so empty
that you honestly can't think of a better way to spend these moments?
Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and
credence to all who claim it? Do you read everything you're supposed to
read? Do you think everything you're supposed to think? Buy what you're
told you should want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the
opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your
job. Start a fight. Prove you're alive. If you don't claim your
humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned...Tyler."