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Fight Club (1999) Poster

(1999)

Trivia

The 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 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 Digital Domain.
Jump to: Cameo (2) | Spoilers (26)
When a Fight Club member sprays the priest with a hose, the camera briefly shakes. This happens because the cameraman couldn't keep himself from laughing.
After the copyright warning, there is another warning on the DVD. This warning is from Tyler Durden, and is only there for a second. "If you are reading 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"
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.
When Tyler (Brad Pitt) catches The Narrator (Edward Norton) listening 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.
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.
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.
Brad Pitt says he didn't want his parents to see the movie, but he couldn't convince them not to watch. They changed their minds after watching the chemical burn scene.
Author Chuck Palahniuk has stated that he found the film to be an improvement on his novel.
During the shooting of the film, Helena Bonham Carter insisted that her makeup artist (Julie Pearce) apply all of her eye makeup with her left hand, because Bonham-Carter felt that Marla was not a person who would be particularly skilled at (or concerned with) correctly applying makeup.
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.
In an infamous incident, the Friday that the film was released 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".
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 soapmaking classes from boutique company Auntie Godmother. Prior to principal photography, Pitt also visited a dentist to have his front tooth chipped.
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.
In the scene where the narrator is popping a mint into his mouth, a promotional video of the Bridgeworth Suites is playing on the television. You can see that one of the hotel employees in the commercial, is Brad Pitt. He is the one to the left of the TV screen.
David 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 scene where The Narrator's boss (Zach Grenier) finds the rules of 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.
The breath in the cave scene is recycled Leonardo DiCaprio breath from Titanic (1997), which was composited into the shot.
In the scene where The Narrator is sitting on a toilet, with his pants 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?"
Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter spent three days recording orgasmic sounds for their unseen sex scenes.
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 filmmakers decided to substitute fictional recipes for the real ones.
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. As Norton explains on the DVD commentary, he hates the car because the Beetle was one of the primary symbols of 60s youth culture and freedom. However, the youth of the 60s had become the corporate bosses of the 90s, 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; "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." However, Pitt is quoted on the DVD commentary as saying he has since had a change of heart about the new Beetle.
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 (1997)) .
Fox 2000 Pictures executive Raymond Bongiovanni, who died shortly before the project was green-lit, first discovered the book whilst still in galleys. Prior to his death, 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.
During the shooting of the first group scene (where Thomas (David 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.
According to author Chuck Palahniuk, much of the specific content of the novel (such as splicing single frames of pornography into family 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 another."
Starbucks 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.
Marla Singer's phone number, 555-0134, is the same as Teddy's number in Memento (2000). It is also the same as the Hong Kong Restaurant in Harriet the Spy (1996), Eddie Alden's in Someone Like You... (2001) and a Mental institution in an episode of Millennium (1996).
To ensure that Bob's (Meat Loaf) breasts and love handles hung 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.
Director David Fincher initially wanted to include a single frame flash of Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) during the 20th Century Fox logo, but the studio's legal 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.
Three detectives in the film are named Detective Andrew, Detective Kevin, and Detective Walker. Andrew Kevin Walker was the writer of the David Fincher film Se7en (1995) (also starring Brad Pitt), and did some uncredited work on this movie's script.
The cave scene early in the film where The Narrator (Edward Norton) 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 become.
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.
Although he refused to smoke in Rounders (1998) (his character played poker for cigarettes, but did not smoke), Edward Norton agreed to smoke for this film.
Brad Pitt and Edward Norton both really learned how to make soap.
The movie's line "The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club" was #27 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by Premiere in 2007.
The reverse-tracking shot out of the trash can, an elaborate digitally 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.
Following "Fight Club" 's release, several fight clubs were reported to have started in the United States. A "Gentleman's Fight Club" was started in Menlo Park, California in 2000 and had members mostly from the high tech industry.
The 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.
Courtney Love and Winona Ryder were both initially considered for the role of Marla Singer, but in the end, it came down to Helena Bonham Carter and Reese Witherspoon. Director David Fincher wanted Bonham-Carter, but the studio wanted a bigger name and chose to go with Witherspoon. In the end however, the decision was taken out of their hands when Witherspoon turned down the role as being "too dark", and Bonham-Carter was cast.
During an exterior shoot in an urban residential area, a man in one of 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 afterward.
Edward Norton lost 17-20 pounds for this role after having to beef up tremendously for his role as a Neo-Nazi skinhead in American History X (1998). Norton achieved this form by running, taking vitamins and just ignoring the on-set catering.
Director David Fincher shot 38 takes of the scene between Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) and The Narrator (Edward Norton) in Lou's Bar after The Narrator's apartment 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.
In the diner scene when the Narrator asks Marla for, "15 seconds," a bell is clearly heard after 15 seconds.
When The Narrator comes downstairs in his house, after supposedly being 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.
Producer Ross Grayson Bell initially wanted Russell Crowe to play Tyler Durden, but he was overruled by fellow producer Art Linson, who felt Brad Pitt was the better choice. 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.
According to Helena Bonham Carter, she based her performance of Marla 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.
Filming lasted 138 days, with over 300 scenes shot on 200 locations and 72 sets constructed by production designer Alex McDowell.
Prior to filming, makeup artist Julie Pearce studied UFC bouts to see what kind of makeup effects were needed for the film, as she had never done "realistic fight makeup" before.
Some of fake names used by the narrator in the self-help groups are taken from Planet of the Apes (1968) (Cornelius), as well as classic roles played by Robert De Niro (such as Rupert from The King of Comedy (1982) and Travis from Taxi Driver (1976)).
Make up artist Rob Bottin had to build two different fat suits for Meat Loaf - one with nipples, one without - because the filmmakers weren't sure if 20th Century Fox would approve the suit with the prominent nipples.
Marla 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.
The burnt out car that Edward Norton's character is examining 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.
Almost every time the characters Marla Singer or Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) finish a cigarette they just throw it away dramatically instead of putting it out.
During the shooting of the night exteriors of Tyler's 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.
During the shooting of the sex scene, actors Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter posed in 10 different positions from the Kama Sutra.
The phrase, "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.
Much confusion exists amongst fans about the Narrator's name. Many believe it is Jack due to his use of the phrase "I am Jack's...", but others argue that he only uses the moniker Jack because that was the one he saw in "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. Edward Norton reveals that he refers to the character as Jack on the audio commentary on the DVD and Blu-ray.
Helena Bonham Carter wore platform shoes to help close up the disparity in height between her and Edward Norton and Brad Pitt.
Author Chuck Palahniuk told the producers from the very start that, 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 Fight Club and The Graduate (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. Cameron Crowe, Andrew Kevin Walker, director David Fincher and actors Brad Pitt and Edward Norton also did uncredited work on the screenplay.
Voted #4 in Total Film's 100 Greatest Movies Of All Time list (November 2005).
The author of the novel Chuck Palahniuk considers the film to be a big improvement over the novel.
The layout of The Narrator's (Edward Norton) apartment was based upon 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.
The scene involving the destruction of the corporate artwork (where the 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; for example, when the ball rolls down the steps, it bounced, when it rolled through the water it left no wake, and when it rolls through the pool, rather than sinking and rolling along the surface, it floated. As well as that, the ball couldn't gather enough speed. In the end, Wenger was reduced to having two special effects people running alongside, pulling the ball on wires and trying to hold it down so it didn't float on the surface of the water. There were also problems shooting the scene where the ball crashes through the front of the coffee shop. Wenger had only a 40 foot run up to the front of the shop, but because the ball was 8 feet high, and the ceiling of the area in which they were shooting was 10 feet, it meant the ramp could only rise 2 feet off the ground, leaving virtually no room for the ball to gather momentum prior to smashing into the glass. As such, when the ball would hit the café, it would smash the glass in the front of the shop and then just roll back out instead of crashing on into the counter. 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 bounces, 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 projected $50 million budget escalated to $67 million shortly after shooting began, executive producer Arnon Milchan ordered director David Fincher to cut the budget by at least $5 million. Fincher refused, saying it would damage the integrity of the film, prompting Milchan to quit the movie. However, because Milchan's company, Regency Enterprises, was providing $25 million of the budget, without him, the project could not go ahead. 20th Century Fox studio head Bill Mechanic begged Milchan to return, and began to send him dailies so as to illustrate to him the merits of the film. After three weeks of seeing raw footage from the set, Milchan returned to the film, and approved the budget increase to $67 million, upping Regency Enterprises investment to $34 million.
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 (1996). 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 (1999), Man on the Moon (1999), and Runaway Jury (2003) (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.
Prior to filming, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter considered 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.
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.
The typeface used for the titles and logo is named "Fight This".
There's a briefly extended scene shown on the premium cable channels that's not on the DVD copy of the film. When the Narrator goes to Marla Singers apartment to check her for breast cancer, Marla's breast is shown out of her shirt for a moment.
When the film stock was processed, several techniques were applied to 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."
When 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.
Author Chuck Palahniuk named Tyler Durden after the character of 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.
Three directors were offered the film prior to David Fincher. 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 Beach (2000) instead. The producers then turned to David Fincher, who was in post-production on The Game (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.
In 2008, "Fight Club" was named the 10th greatest movie of all time by Empire magazine in its issue of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.
While Edward Norton is trying to convince Helena Bonham Carter to leave the city by bus, the crew arranged cinema signs to make references to other films the cast had been in, although only one is visible during the actual scene. Seven Years in Tibet (1997) (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 Edward Norton) and The Wings of the Dove (1997) (starring Helena Bonham Carter).
The scene where Tyler (Brad Pitt) splicing the few frames of a penis into a family film shown in the theater is a reference to Persona (1966), where in the beginning, a few random images are shown into a projected film, including that of an erect penis.
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 (1999), which was released the same year as this film.
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 the sticker cannot be seen in the actual film - David Fincher mentions it on his DVD commentary).
Director David Fincher shot over 1,500 reels of film, more than three times the usual amount for a 120 minute film.
In conjunction with director David Fincher, first time director of photography Jeff Cronenweth decided to shoot the film using spherical lenses instead of the more common anamorphic lenses. This was primarily because many scenes were 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 than 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.
The 'soap 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.
There's a cup of coffee hidden in every scene.
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The Narrator and Marla are both in attendance at a Sickle-Cell Disease support group. Every other member is of an African or Latin racial background. This disease primarily affects people of African, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern or South Asian background, hence a further statement on their need to "crash" these meetings.
When the Narrator is calling Tyler Durden on the payphone and turning over the Paper St. business card in his hand, there is a phone number written on the back of it (555-0178). This was the Narrator's home phone number when he still lived at the Pearson Towers condo.
Voted #10 on Empire magazine's 500 Greatest Movies Of All Time (September 2008).
Author Chuck Palahniuk's novel was discovered by Fox 2000 Pictures executive, Raymond Bongiovanni who sent it 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 its 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. It was first offered to Lawrence Bender 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. Donen and Bell immediately organized a read-through of the book with some actors, 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 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.
When Tyler and the Narrator meet at the bar, the conversation topic lands on "consumers." Brad Pitt's input in the conversation, very much resembles his monologue to Bruce Willis about consumers in the film, "12 Monkeys."
The front of the product packaging for "Avery 8293 Matte White High-Visibility Labels for Inkjet Printers" shows a sample usage of the label on a shipping package. The address on this label is, "Tyler Durden 420 Paper St. Wilmington, DE"
As noted during Author Chuck Palahniuk and Screenwriter Jim Uhls' 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.
The only remaining pink and white giant "fat soap" prop (appox. 12" x 10") featured in the movie can be seen briefly but clearly behind the character Warren Henley in a scene in the film Automatic (2001) as a framed piece of art.
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The "filing cabinet" apartment block that the Narrator lives in is called "Pierson Towers", and the motto is "a place to be somebody" which is the city motto for Wilmington, Delaware (which is where the novel is set, and where the film was going to be set until the production ran into trouble with legal clearances).
Rupert Murdoch despised the project and clashed with then-studio head 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 release.
According to Variety magazine, Sarah Michelle Gellar was approached for the role of Marla Singer, but due to a locked contract with Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997), she couldn't get the part.
Director 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.
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David Fincher turned down an offer to direct 8MM (1999) due to his commitment to directing this film.
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In the original cut of the film, several specific brands were referenced. Besides the coffee bar (originally a Starbucks Coffee) and the video store (originally a Blockbuster Video) at the receiving end of Project Mayhem, the Narrator clearly referenced Reader's Digest (later changed to the fictional magazine "The Annotated Reader") and specifically referred to the Reader's Digest stories about Joe's body that were written by J.T. Ratcliffe. These product placements were removed at the request of these companies, whose executives did not want such product placements in light of the film's content. This entailed re-recording the Narrator's dialogue to change the character's anatomical references from "Joe" to "Jack."
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The telephone number of the Paper Street Soap Company (as printed on the phone the Narrator uses to call the "1888" office building near the end of the movie) is (288) 555-1534. The Paper Street Soap Company's phone number as listed on Tyler's business card is (288) 555-0153. Richard Chesler's (Zach Grenier) business card shows a phone number of (288) 555-0138. At the time of the film's release, area code 288 was "reserved for future use".
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In the scene where Tyler and the Narrator go to the liposuction clinic to collect fat for their soap, they hide behind a dumpster with a sign that reads 'Infectious Human Waste'. Later in the movie the Narrator refers to Marla as 'Infectious Human Waste'.
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The shot surveying Project Mayhem's destructive equipment lying in underground parking lots was a three-dimensional composition of over 100 photographs of Los Angeles and Century City by special effects photographer Michael Douglas Middleton.
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Near the beginning of the film, a poster for the band 311 can be seen behind The Narrator's head, in the pawn shop scene with Marla.
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Edward Norton's apartment building, Pearson Towers, which he returns to at the beginning of the film to find his possessions strewn all over the sidewalk is actually Promenade Towers located at 123 South Figueroa in downtown Los Angeles. The apartment building's slogan in the movie is "A Place to be Somebody" while the actual apartment building's slogan is "A City in a City".
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The workprint for this film ran about 153 minutes.
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Tyler appears in the film at least 4 times before Jack sees him briefly on the moving walkway at the airport.
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The 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).
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Anna Friel auditioned for the part of Marla.
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Cameo 

Edward Kowalczyk:  Member of the band Live plays the waiter who serves the Narrator and Marla with the line, "Sir, anything you want is free of charge, sir."
Kevin Scott Mack:  Digital Domain visual effects supervisor is the terrified guy with glasses in the plane crash scene.

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

When Lou sees the Fight Club members in the basement of his restaurant, 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 impact.
When Tyler and the Narrator are on the bus, the long-haired guy pushes past Tyler without a word, then says "excuse me" as he pushes past the Narrator.
When Tyler and the Narrator hit the first car with baseball bats, Tyler hits first, but the alarm is triggered only after the Narrator hits.
Chuck Palahniuk revealed that when he wrote the book, he did not 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.
After the car crash, as Tyler nurses the Narrator back to health, 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).
The Narrator wanders the house while Tyler and Marla noisily have sex upstairs. When the detective calls and the Narrator answers the phone, the sounds of the lovemaking instantly stop.
At the airport, the Narrator says "Could you wake up as a different person?" and the camera briefly follows Tyler.
When Tyler Durden calls The Narrator back in the phone booth, the camera slowly tracks in towards the phone. On the left of the phone, a notice can be seen saying "No incoming calls allowed."
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).
When the narrator gets on the bus with Tyler, he only pays the fare for one person.
When the airport valet lends Tyler and the narrator the car, while addressing "Mr. Durden" he is looking straight at the Narrator.
When entering Lou's Tavern, the Narrator enters first and the guy out the front only acknowledges the Narrator, as though Tyler doesn't even exist.
When the Narrator enters the house prior to seeing the news report of the happy face on the building, he is carrying one of Project Mayhem's folders.
When the airport employee "lends" Tyler the car, the Narrator and Tyler get in through the same door. After the crash where Tyler was driving, Tyler pulls the Narrator out of the driver's side of the car.
In the closing seconds of the film after the camera pulls back from the exploding buildings, a single frame of male genitalia can be seen briefly like Brad Pitt's character added in his projectionist job.
The buildings that blow up in the end are all Fox-owned buildings 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.
The shot of The Narrator shooting himself was originally to have been shot practically using synchronized high speed photosonic cameras, a dummy constructed by 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 CG.
When Tyler and the Narrator are fighting and gather a crowd, no one intervenes, but instead look rather bemused.
The Group Leader (George Maguire) begins his speech at the Testicular Cancer support group by saying, "I look around this room and I see a lot of...". Later, when Tyler makes his 'Middle children of history' speech, he begins, "I look around this room and I see a lot of..."
When going to the convenience store where Raymond K. Hessel works, Tyler gets the gun out of the Narrator's bag. The Narrator obviously didn't know the gun was there, indicated by his astonishment "Is that a gun?", despite the fact that it's his backpack.
On the airplane the Narrator mentions that they have the exact same briefcase. And although Tyler opens his, we never see the contents of the Narrator's. Also in this scene when the Narrator meets Tyler, he asks him what his name is, but then he never offers, nor is asked about, his own name.
After the Narrator leaves Marla's apartment just before he meets Bob (who tries telling him about Fight Club) there is a graffiti written the wall to his right that says "I LIKE MYSELF I LIKE MYSELF I LIKE MYSELF I LIKE MYSELF". Parts of it can also be seen as the Narrator and Bob talk.
The final shot of the collapsing credit bank buildings was designed by 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.
When The Narrator is beating himself up in his boss's office and throws himself against the bookshelf, the only book title visible on the shelf is 'Anger Kills'.
When the Narrator is fighting himself in his boss's office he says that this reminded him of his first fight with Tyler.
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The zip code on Richard Chesler's (Zach Grenier) business card is 198090 (shown briefly in the scene where The Narrator beats himself up in the office). In the shot where we see Tyler Durden's business card (just before The Narrator calls him), The Narrator's thumb is hiding the 6th digit. All we are able to see is 19808...then it's all thumb.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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