Fight Club – Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes

Love Fight Club? Then you will love this article! See how many of these behind the scenes stories you know. I bet we can surprise you!

Fight Club Stories From Behind the Scenes - Norton Glaring at Tyler

The Real Fighting of Fight Club: Did you know that in the very first fight scene, Edward Norton really did hit Brad Pitt? Fincher took Norton aside and whispered to him that he should hit Pitt–without any warning–in the ear. Pitt’s surprised and pained reaction (“You hit me in the ear!”) is real!

Continue on for more stories, trivia, and great pictures. Oh and don’t miss the video towards the end!


Can you spot the coffee cup?

Fight Club Facts Starbucks Coffee Cup
Director David Fincher has claimed in interviews that there is at least one Starbucks cup visible in every scene in the movie. Have you noticed them all?


What Are You Hearing During Fight Scenes?

The Sound of Fists

Fight Club - Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Norton Narrator After Fight

Beating the Crap out of Celery Stalks: Sound Designer, Ren Klyce, had a lot of trouble making director David Fincher happy with the punching sounds in the film. The archived hollywood recordings weren’t realistic enough, nor were other classic tricks such as punching wrapped up celery.

Punching Chickens: The key was finally found by heading down to the basement with a bunch of chicken carcasses and walnuts. When the chickens were stuffed with walnuts they would make a slight but satisfying crunch when hit.


Attacked By An Angry Spectator!

When Locals Attack…

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Norton in a Phone Booth

He Couldn’t Take the Noise: Shooting a scene outside in an urban area, the crew of Fight Club made too much noise for one of the local residents to handle. In a fit of rage, the man took a 40 oz. beer bottle and chucked it at them!

He Hit Someone! The bottle hit Jeff Cronenweth, the Director of Photography. He was cut open but not seriously, and soon the cops came to arrest the disgruntled local.


That Wasn’t the Only Time the Cops Got Involved On Set!

The UFO’s of Fight Club

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Ripley

Investigated by the Police! The Lomita Sheriff’s Department began to receive numerous calls from citizens claiming to have seen UFO’s in San Pedro, suspiciously near a Fight Club set. When the cops investigated, they found that it was the helium balloon lights that the Director of Photography floated above Tyler’s house.


Have you read the actual warning? Wow!

Have you read the actual warning?

Fight Club Facts Warning Text
At the beginning of the movie (at least in the DVD version), after the traditional copyright warning, there is a second warning that flashes for a second. Take a minute to read the text… You have been warned!


Quiz: Who Was Supposed to Play Tyler Durden?

Russell Crowe Was Supposed to Play Tyler Durden

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Tyler Durden looks up

Battle between Producers! Producer Ross Grayson Bell wanted Russell Crow for Durden but luckily he was overruled by Co-Producer Art Lindon, who wanted Pitt. Bell ended up being happy with Pitt’s performance and is now glad that he lost.


Fight Club Almost Didn’t Get Made!

Why Fight Club Almost Didn’t Get Made

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Fincher and Marla on Steps

The Readers Hated It! When the book Fight Club was sent to 20th Century Fox to be assessed for film-making potential, it was not exactly loved. In fact the studio reader who went over it reported that it would make a terrible film, that it was “exceedingly disturbing”, and it would “make audiences squirm.” He wasn’t the only one who thought so.

The Clash over Budget: Fight Club had a budget of 50 million dollars as it went into production. When the estimated costs rose to 67 million, one of the financial backers, Regency Enterprises, backed out. This effectively would have killed the project had not 20th Century Fox been able to lure Regency back in by sending them the film’s dailies (copies of the scenes shot every day) for the following three weeks.


A Couple Actors Stormed Off Set!

Angry Extras

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Tyler Durden and Narrator looking mad

He Stormed Off: In one of the group scenes, a characters talks about his wife getting pregnant by another man. This offended one of the extras so much that he left the set and refused to even be paid!

He Didn’t Like Being Shouted At: There is a scene where Steph slaps around one of the Space Monkeys and yells at him, calling him worthless. The man acting the space monkey didn’t like that much and quit, leaving the set in huff. He had to be replaced by a new actor.


Find Out How Jared Leto Grossed Out the Crew!

The Makeup of Fight Club

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Norton's Makeup

The Crew Avoided Jared! The cast and crew gave Jared Leto a wide berth on the day his fight scene was filmed. The reason: his makeup was just too good. His nose was split down the middle with a “kind of jelly-like bubble of blood gushing out like a volcano.”  Apparently the studio agreed because they insisted that the scene be cut from the film.

She Studied UFC: Thank makeup artist, Julie Pearce, for the gross effects. She watched extreme fighting in preparation for the film, studying just how people looked when they were beaten to a pulp. She reportedly even made a torn up ear for one of the extras, inspired by Mike Tyson.


Brad Pitt Chipped His Teeth!

The Great Lengths Actors Will Go To

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Tyler With Chipped Teeth

He Chipped his Teeth! Before filming started, Brad Pitt had a dentist purposely chip off bits of his front teeth in order to better play Durden. He was able to get them fixed later but still, talk about commitment to a role!

He Lost 20 pounds: Norton had recently come off the set of American History X, a movie that he had majorly beefed up for. To play the Narrator, he needed to be skinny again, and fast.


What Were They Doing With Auntie Godmother?

Preparing for the Role!

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Tyler With Soap

Real Support Group Crashers? Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter (Marla) originally planned to study for their roles by visiting real support groups for the terminally ill. Eventually, however, they changed their minds, deciding that it may not be appropriate.

Auntie Godmother Boutique: Of course Pitt and Norton studied fighting (boxing, taekwondo, grappling, UFC) in preparation for filming, but did you know that they also learned to make soap? They took classes at the Auntie Godmother Boutique.


Quiz: Who Was Supposed to Play Marla?

The Actresses Who Could Have Been Marla

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Marla with Durden

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Apparently Sarah Michelle Gellar was approached to play Marla but couldn’t because of her contract as Buffy.

The Studio Wanted Witherspoon: Because she is a big name, the studio took the part to Reese Witherspoon. Luckily, she thought it was too dark and turned it down. The part then went to Helena Bonham Carter, although both Courtney Love and Winona Rider were considered.


Why Wasn’t Bonham Carter Called By Her Real Name?

“If I had a tumor, I’d name it Marla”

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Marla on Phone

She Was Called Judy: Helena Bonham Carter was often called Judy on set by the director, David Fincher. This helped her get into character since her portrayal of Marla was based on the later life of Judy Garland (that’s right, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz). In other words, deeply troubled.

Her Makeup Was Applied Wrong: Bonham Carter insisted that the makeup artist should apply her makeup using her left hand instead of her right. She didn’t want her makeup to look too nice as Marla probably wouldn’t be the type to have a lot of skill with or care much about her appearance.


Next: The Cast and Crew Get Rowdy on Set!

Cast and Crew Getting Rowdy

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Priest Sprayed with Hose

They Really Were Drunk: There is a scene where Durden and the Narrator are drunk and hitting golf balls. In reality Pitt and Norton are drunk and hitting golf balls–against the side of the catering truck. 

Inflamed Sense of Laughter: There is an unintended camera shake in the scene where a fight club member sprays a hose at a priest. This is a result of the camera man being unable to control his laughter. Another incident of the cameraman laughing too hard was luckily able to be cut, though only by a single frame. 


 The Story of Norton on the John.

Edward Norton Bares All

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Norton on the Toilet

Nude From the Waist Down: There is a scene where the Narrator sits on the toilet with his pants down, reading. Here, Norton’s bottom really is completely naked. And apparently it was a real toilet because all day he never had to leave set to go to the bathroom.


Why Do Pitt and Norton Hate Beetles? Think You Know?

The Cars of Fight Club

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Tyer and Narrator Smash Beetle

They Wanted to Destroy a Beetle: Pitt and Norton discovered that they both had a shared hatred for the new Volkswagen Beetle. To them it was a car that had once been a symbol of youth and freedom, now repackaged and sold by a bunch of corporate sellouts. They specifically requested that they get a new beetle for the scene where Durden and the Narrator hit cars with baseball bats.

The Most Loved Car: The same brown station wagon that was used in a movie called The Game, also made an appearance in Fight Club. It is the vehicle that Norton falls against in the scene where Durden and the Narrator fight for the first time.


Find the Link Between Fight Club and The Lord of the Rings!

Fight Club Meets Lord of the Rings

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Tyler Green Art

Peter Jackson Could Have Directed! In fact, he was the producer’s first choice. However, even though Jackson loved the Fight Club novel, he was too busy working on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. In the end he had to turn the project down.


Up Next: How many hidden flashes have you noticed?

How many hidden flashes have you noticed?

Fight Club Facts Hidden Flashes
Have you noticed all these before? Tyler Durden flashes on screen four times before we actually meet him as a character.


What Was the Most Difficult Scene to Shoot? Find Out on the Next

Challenges of Filming

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Fincher and Norton

Remember the scene with the huge ball that crashes into the coffee shop? This proved to be one of the most difficult scenes in the movie to film as the floor couldn’t take a lot of weight. The ball had to be made super light and as a result, it moved super light. It bounced gaily down the stairs and floated in the water instead of sinking. Eventually the ball had to be wired to two special effects guys who ran alongside, trying to both speed the ball up and hold it down at the same time. Even so, the scene required significant special effects to make it passable.


Can You Guess Who Broke the Rules of Fight Club?

Rule #6 – No Shirt, No Shoes

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Bob Hugging Norton

A Fat Suit With Nipples: Bob, the big man with breasts, was played by the musical artist, Meatloaf. He had fat two suits, one with nipples and one without, because the filmmakers weren’t sure if the nipple suit would be approved by the studio.

Bob broke the Rules: Bob was the only character that was allowed to defy the no shirt rule of Fight Club. This was because his fat suit was not realistic enough to be uncovered.


Why did he need an oxygen mask?

Meatloaf Needed an Oxygen Mask

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - His Name is Robert Paulson

100 lbs of Bird Seed: Bob’s fat suits were filled with bird seed to give a realistic sagging flesh look. This also made them extremely heavy and hot. So much so that Meatloaf was exhausted at the end of every fight scene take, to the point of needing to wear an oxygen mask.

You Can See It! In one scene you can see Meatloaf in the background, sitting with his oxygen mask on.


What’s Next? He Really Did Want to Blow Up His Apartment!

Set Design With Meaning

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Norton on Couch

He Wanted to Blow it Up: The directer, David Fincher, had the Narrator’s apartment modelled after one in which he used to live, his first place in L.A.  Apparently he hated his home so much that while he lived there, he often wanted to blow it up. With Fight Club, he finally got his chance!


Can you Guess What Inspired the Book?

Inspiration Around a Campfire

Fight Club Surprising Stories Frm Behind the Scenes - Chuck the Writer

The Author Was Beat Up: On a camping trip, author of the original Fight Club novel, Chuck Palahniuk, complained to some neighbouring campers about the noise they were causing. They didn’t like that much and instead decided to pulverize the writer. It turned out to be a blessing, however, since the event is what initially gave Palahniuk the idea for Fight Club.


Did He Hate His Characters?

Playing With the Leads

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Pitt Norton BOnham Carter Art

Did he Hate his Characters? Palahniuk named the character Marla after a girl who used to bully his sister in school. And Durden’s name came from a man he used to work with that was fired for sexual harassment. 

He Didn’t Even Know! The author was two thirds of the way through writing the book before he even decided that the Narrator and Durden were the same character!


Why Didn’t Fincher Want to Direct Fight Club?

Fincher Didn’t Want to Direct Fight Club

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Fincher with Pitt and Norton

He Didn’t Like Fox! When David Fincher was approached to direct Fight Club he almost turned it down. He had already had a bad experience working for 20th Century Fox on the set of Alien 3 and didn’t want to repeat the unpleasantness.

The Meeting that Changed Everything: Fincher was then invited to meet with Fox’s Studio Head and their President of Production, so they could convince him. They did a good job because in the end relations were restored and Fincher was hired.

Fincher even turned down directing 8 Mile so he could work on Fight Club.


Where Was the Movie Movie Most Despised?

Failure at the Film Festivals

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Art_We Should Do this More Often

Dissed in Venice: Brad Pitt and Edward Norton felt “like the obnoxious americans laughing at their own movie,” when Fight Club screened at the Venice Film Festival. The rest of the audience was dead silent throughout and David Fincher even claims to have gotten a dirty look directly afterwards from a lady who recognized him as the director.

He Walked Out! During the screening, Pitt and Norton were seated next to the Head of the Festival, who appeared to grow more and more disgusted with the film as it went on. Eventually, a particularly offensive joke from Marla caused him to get up and vacate the premises entirely.


What’s Next? At Least Mel Gibson Liked It!

The Ultimate Guy Movie

Fight Club Surprising Stories Form Behind the Scenes - Guy Movie Hall of Fame

Guy’s Choice Award: Fight club was given an award at the Guy Movie Hall of Fame, presented by Mel Gibson…on horseback (okay he got off the horse before actually handing over the award).

I am Jack’s Rotten Review: In their acceptance speech, Fincher, Pitt, and Norton read a few the multitude of scathing reviews the film had already received. There are many gems such as: A load of depressing, rancid swill from start to finish” Rex Reed, The New York Observer. And “A witless mishmash of whiny, infantile philosophizing and bone crushing violence” Kenneth Tura, LA Times.


The Greatest Movie of all Time?

From “Swill” to Greatness

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Brad Pitt Raises Arms in Triumph

A Cult Classic: Even though it was considered a box office failure, Fight Club has since become hugely popular. It was named the tenth greatest movie of all time by Empire Magazine, and was voted fourth in Total Film’s Greatest Movies of all Time.


Quiz: Who was supposed to play the Narrator?

The Actors That Could Have Been the Narrator

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Norton with Bandage

Impressed by Norton: Even though Matt Damon and Sean Penn were both considered for the role of the Narrator, it was Edward Norton’s performance in The People vs. Larry Flint that was the deciding factor.

But Could They Get Him? At the time Norton was either in consideration or had already been offered leading roles in the films: The Talented Mr. Ripley, Man on the Moon, and Runaway Jury.

Norton was up against Jim Carrey for the Man on the Moon part. In fact, the director couldn’t choose between them. Thankfully, the studios decided to go with Carrey because he was a bigger name. Shortly after Norton accepted the role in Fight Club. We’re almost at the video.

Who Didn’t Brad Pitt Want to See the Movie

Pitt Didn’t Want Everyone to See Fight Club

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Tyler and Marla

Protecting his Parents: Pitt confesses that he tried to convince his parents not to watch Fight Club but they wouldn’t listen to him. They wished they had, however, and quit watching when they got to the scene where Durden burns the Narrator’s hand.


The link between Fight Club and Titanic.

Fight Club Meets the Titanic

Fight Club Surprising Stories From Behind the Scenes - Marla in Cave

The Breath of DiCaprio: There is a scene in Fight Club where the Narrator imagines that he is in a cave. In the cave his breath is visible, from the cold. But it isn’t actually cold and the breath we see really belongs to Leonardo DiCaprio. It was taken from Titanic and composited into the scene in Fight Club.


 Don’t Miss the Video!

After all these years you can finally share Fight Club with your kids! Enjoy this funny video by Fight Club author, Chuck Palahniuk. (Actually, you may not want to show your kids… Just saying)


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