It’s hard to believe that it was twenty years that director David Fincher’s all-out attack on Generation X, Fight Club, debuted. Thanks to studios not knowing how exactly to market the black comedy, it quickly became a big cult movie. Had they known to market it as such, it might have gone down in the public eye as the best movie of the nineties, even with all of the bleak undertones.
For those that haven’t seen the movie, first – where have you been for twenty years?! Secondly, it’s the story of two friends who start a secret club as one of them descends into madness, attempting to use the club to introduce a little anarchy into the population. That doesn’t sound like a dark comedy, but after watching the movie, you’ll be able to see how absurd the whole situation is.
Starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham-Carter, Fight Club finds its way to stick with you, even years after seeing it. Like a chemical burn. On subsequent rewatches, you’re going to find all sorts of fun things that you might not have caught the first go around. There’s something unique and oddly “off” in just about every frame of the movie. Here are just a few of those instances. Here are 25 Hidden Things Fans Completely Missed In Fight Club.
There are hidden breadcrumbs for the movie even before the opening credits pump through. If you have a really quick eye, you’ll be able to catch a warning pop up on-screen right before the movie starts.
But unless you’re a speed-reader, there’s no way in any world you’d be able to read this zany disclaimer pictured here, right before the DVD version plays. But upon reading it now, it’s apparent that the film you’re about to see has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek.
When we meet the Narrator, played by Edward Norton, he’s a mundane office drone. The guy can’t sleep and isn’t too fond of his job. He’s a just a guy who fills the bottomless void of young adulthood with whatever he feels like buying from an Ikea catalog. Until he meets Tyler for the first time.
Only, is it the first time? If you have an eagle eye and are paying attention you’ve seen Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden several times before these two ever meet. He’s a blip in four different frames. There is also an advertisement for Bridgeworth Suites that the Narrator is watching, and Tyler is right there in front of him.
One of the key aspects of the second part of the film is the love triangle, or lack thereof between Tyler, Marla, and the Narrator. The Narrator meets Marla Singer first and then Tyler. Here is where the fun begins – after these two end up together, Marla is spent and says “I want to have your [removal].”
The producer of the movie, Laura Ziskin, begged for the line to be taken out. Fincher agreed but, on the condition that the new line cannot be changed. Hence the reason we have the even funnier and more offensive “grade school” line.
One of the many cameos in the movie is from rock god, Meat Loaf Aday. He played Club member, Robert Paulson. He meets the Narrator at a support group meeting and the two strike up a little bit of a friendship.
The mammoth of a man was very overweight for a time in his career and actually had lost a lot of the weight before being cast as Bob. The crew fit him with a suit that was filled with bird seed. One was anatomically correct, one was not.
Jared Leto is another cameo character in the film. As Angel Face, the kid not only appears to be 100% devoted to Tyler’s message, but Tyler also appears to be taking a liking to him. The beautiful boy eventually has his face roughed up by the Narrator because he “wanted to destroy something beautiful.”
A year prior to the film, Leto had started the experimental rock band, 30 Seconds To Mars. There’s an in-joke to this during one of Tyler’s speeches. He speaks about how we all grew up dreaming to be rock stars and we won’t be. When he says this, he’s staring right at the newly-minted rock star, Leto.
The film’s big twist, like many twist endings, relies on someone having never seen the movie before. Once you’ve experienced the mind attack that Fight Club has laid on you, go back and watch the movie. There is seldom a scene between Tyler and the Narrator that doesn’t give the twist away.
When the pair board the bus, Tyler walks by and the Narrator dumps the change in. When they’re bumped into, the stranger walks past Tyler and bumps into the Narrator. Those bits can be construed as the Narrator paying for both or the guy just not bumping into Tyler. But then explain why the Narrator, even when the passenger is always getting out of the driver side of the car.
One of the big themes of the film is the downfall of Generation X and the values of nonstop advertising. To showcase this, director David Fincher had put a Starbucks cup into just about every scene in the movie.
Like playing Where’s Waldo, you can play a game of find the cup using this handy-dandy website. Strangely enough, the company had no trouble with their cup everywhere but didn’t want their name attached to the coffee shop that Tyler blows up.
From the moment we meet both Tyler and the Narrator, it’s as clear as the driven snow that their two very different people with very different physiques. While Brad Pitt and Edward Norton were gearing up their roles, they made the conscious decision for Tyler to look chiseled out of granite.
Norton had to drop a bunch of weight and muscle to play the humdrum Narrator. He had just finished filming the drama, American History X; where the actor was as big as a house.
The strange tag line was on all of the posters for Fight Club – [Crime]. Mischief. Soap. Until you’ve seen the movie, you have little to no idea what that means or how it plays into the movie’s various satires.
There are only a handful, if that much, scenes of Pitt and Norton making soap in the movie. But that didn’t stop them from taking soap-making classes to get in the mood for their roles. They learned from a California Boutique, Auntie Godmother.
Did you know that three of the biggest heart-throbs of the nineties are in Fight Club? Two of the three are easy to spot. Obviously, Brad Pitt and then known only for My So Called Life, Jared Leto. But there’s one more and he’s about to co-star with Pitt again in the new Quentin Tarantino movie.
Leonardo DiCaprio is in the movie too. Or at least his frozen breath is. During one of the “go into your cave” bits, the editing team used the actor’s frozen breath from Titanic.
Besides every member of this secret society breaking the Club’s first two rules; Bob doesn’t adhere to the sixth rule either. “Sixth Rule: No shirts, no shoes,” Tyler says. Bob is never seen without his shirt on. Meat Loaf’s always breaking the rules, that rock rebel.
Considering he had a chest, according to the Narrator, there was no way the MPAA would have allowed Bob to fight without it. It would have, however, made for one more twisted joke the movie threw at us.
For those who didn’t know, the movie is based on a book of the same name by author Chuck Palahniuk. The main character who tells the story of both he and Tyler does not have a name. The character reads old Reader’s Digest articles ending referring to himself as “Joe”.
For the movie, the “name” of the Narrator is Jack instead. But despite the name, he is actually never given a name in the film at all, until the climactic third chapter when Marla finally refers to him by his name.
In one of the movie’s great scenes, Tyler gets the tar beat out of him by Lou, the owner of the bar. He doesn’t fight back, he lets Lou take out all of his aggression and frustration. By the end, Tyler leaps at the guy with a bruised face begging to be able to continue using the parking lot.
Pitt’s performance is so good, and the camera rarely pans away to anyone else. But when it does pan towards Norton, take a quick peek at him, he’s bobbing his head the same way Tyler’s head or stomach is getting knocked.
As the Narrator and Tyler enjoy a night of drinks getting to know one another, he and Tyler head outside and Tyler demands that his new friend hits him as hard as he can. Besides hitting him in the ear, Edward Norton did in fact really lay into Brad Pitt.
In order to get the scene right and the actor’s reactions what he wanted them to be, Director David Fincher pulled Norton aside without telling Pitt. He told Norton to do exactly what Tyler asked for.
For any fan of cinema, including the actors themselves, have such an affinity for Robert DeNiro. He’s been in some of the greatest films ever made for the past forty years or so, so it’s easy to see why. Fight Club pays homage to the man in another blink and you’ll miss it sort of way.
When the Narrator is going from support meeting to meeting, he uses a bunch of fake names. Depending on how well you know your DeNiro movies, you’ll realize that all of his aliases are the names of DeNiro characters.
In the late nineties, Rosie O’Donnell had a tremendous following. She even had a morning talk show that was a mix of the usual morning shows with a twinge of some night time talk shows as well. Usually safe, occasionally edgy.
She did a huge no-no the morning that Fight Club was released. She told her audience how she already saw the movie and couldn’t sleep for a week because of it. Rather than stop there, she proceeded to tell viewers the ending to the movie and suggested not seeing it. The equivalent of telling someone you’ll understand The Sixth Sense a lot better if you know Bruce Willis is deceased!
Like a lot of movies, casting choices get switched up several times before filming. Fight Club was no different. Before cameras started rolling, Julie Louis-Dreyfus was in consideration for Marla. When she came in to read, she had no idea who Fincher was, which made the director feel like a loser.
Other casting options that the studio wanted was Russell Crowe as Tyler Durden and Sean Penn or Matt Damon as the Narrator. Other Marlas considered were Janeane Garafalo, Reese Witherspoon, Winona Ryder, or Courtney Love.
When scripting the film, David Fincher had conceived of a credit sequence very similar to the one in the movie. The viewer would be taken on a tour of the brain and all of its synapses straight to the Narrator’s forehead to the gun in his mouth.
Put together by Digital Domain VFX House, the minute and a half of footage was put together by a team of storyboard and digital artists. For all that effort, Fox spent almost a million bucks on the sequence.
As Fight Club progresses, more and more disenfranchised young to middle-aged males join Tyler’s little revolution. What’s cool about many of the members of Fight Club were in prior scenes either interacting with Tyler or watching him.
It’s subtle at first, but once you notice scenes where someone picks a fight with a priest and then a few scenes later, you see the same guy with some extra bruises, participating in the antics of Project Mayhem, it’s completely absurd, and hilarious.
One of the reasons Tyler Durden was allowed to come to exist was because the Narrator suffers from insomnia. The author of the original novel, Chuck Palahniuk had also suffered from the disease and wrote it into the story.
Several aspects of how he really tried combat insomnia made its way into the book and the movie. Most notably, locating your cave and power animal to induce a cooling, sleepy chill. Tyler’s iconic shades are used to protect melatonin production, which helps sleep cycles.
With each subsequent viewing, Fight Club continues to be a cult classic. It’s a post-apocalyptic tale of a generation lost, and while that is bleak, there are a huge amount of people that identify with this movie.
The inspiration Palahniuk had for the novel was what happened to him after a real fight that he had gotten into. Palahniuk once said about the incident – “People didn’t ask me what happened. I think they were afraid of the answer. I realized that if you looked bad enough, people would not want to know what you did in your spare time.”
Much has been said about the dedication that Pitt and Norton put into their roles. But there is a ton of praise that needs to be given to Helena Bonham Carter and her dedication to creating Marla. One thing she did was ask the makeup artist to use her left hand, so that it would be a little messy – something that Marla wouldn’t care about.
It was her dedication to be the person that Marla was supposed to be. But it also made her very ill. She wound up with bronchitis during the six-month shoot.
In the beginning of the movie, both the Narrator and Marla find solace going to various support groups. They both comically decide which ones that they’d like to attend. The Narrator comes to the conclusion that for the most part, when people think that you’re going to be dying soon, they listen pretty intently on what you’re going to say.
At the end of the film, the Narrator says to Tyler “I want you to listen to me very carefully, Tyler.” It’s more or less the first time, Tyler shuts up and pays attention to the lesser half of his personality.
Around the midway part of the movie, Tyler allows himself to get the heck knocked out of him. He gives all of his devotees a homework assignment – start a fight with a stranger and lose.
That proves to be a little harder than it looks for one of the Space Monkeys, played by Holt McCallany. The guy tries to pick a fight with a priest by dousing him with a hose. If you think this scene is funny, you don’t think it’s as funny as the cameraman. He’s laughing so much that you can see the camera shake during the scene.
In one scene, Tyler and the Narrator beat the heck out of the new VW Beetle. Both actors shared a disdain for it. But it also became a symbol that fits right into all of the themes of the movie.
According to Norton, “We smash it…because it seemed like the classic example of the Baby Boomer generation marketing plan that sold culture back to us.” The entire crux of the movie is rebelling against the parents of Generation X, which be the yuppies and hippies that birthed the Beetle.