Driven Magazine – October, 1999


You are a millionaire in real life, but in the film you are playing a guy who is
trying to do away with the trappings.

“I loved the irony of it. Because, this whole success thing for me was like winning
the lottery in a sense.”

Does Fight Club advocate real fighting?

“In no way does this film say that you should take your aggression out on other
people as a means of solving your problems. I think the Fight Club is a metaphor
making the radical gesture of stripping yourself of your own fears. It asks, ‘Why
have you sequestered yourself off? Why are you hiding out?’ It’s about people who
feel disenfranchised and want to shake-up their own world.”

Fight Club is a very violent film coming on the heels of some very violent events.
What do you think about the violence in Columbine?

“I might get slaughtered for saying this, but I question whether there was — not a
positive excitement — but an excitement about something that had gone done, that
broke out of the monotony and the boredom. Whenever there is a tragedy…”

The media has really picked up on the violence in the movie and are using it in

“It’s an easy angle. A lot of people haven’t even seen the movie. That just seems
like lazy journalism to me.”

Do you think that real fight clubs will start up because of the film?


The violence in the film might give way to copycats.

“What should we do? Burn the White Album right now because Charles Manson liked it?
Forget about Taxi Driver or Dr. Strangelove. Any movie that’s ever been called
dangerous or radical is now a cultural landmark.”

How do you think most people think?

“Let’s keep things bright and shiny. Touched By An Angel, God bless it. Did you know
that we are guest starring in that soon? Ed [Norton] and I are going on it

Would you feel responsible if any fight clubs started up because of the movie?

“If a fight club started up, no I wouldn’t feel responsible. Those people are
responsible for what they do. But what would bother me that the point was
misinterpreted. That people went out and bashed somebody to exorcise their rage.
It’s about taking a punch, not giving them out. And how would you survive? So, if
they popped up, it wouldn’t surprise me, because nothing surprises me. I would not
join one, let me tell you that much.”

Why do you get along with Ed Norton so well?

“We’re strictly lovers, it’s all a sexual attraction.” [Laughs]

You jokingly mention that you and Ed are lovers…

“No, I wasn’t joking.”

Well, some people have called Fight Club homoerotic.

“I never saw it as homoerotic.”

So, you didn’t see any homoerotic overtones in the film?

“I just didn’t see it that way. I know that some people have taken it that way. And,
that’s fine with me, it doesn’t mean anything to me. But, a lot of that comes from
the line, ‘We are a generation of men raised by women. I’m wondering if another
woman is really the answer we need’ My interpretation of that line is always, ‘We’re
so fucked-up. We’re looking at a brick wall. We’ve hot to sort ourselves out before
we can take in the responsibility of another person and expect to live happily ever
after – all that bullshit.’ We’ve got to figure out ourselves first, and then, we
can find a partner down the road. We’ve got to stop listening to all those
preconceived notions of go to college, get a job and then, get married.”

What are the tennets of Fight Club?

“We talked about the tennets of the movie, which I found interesting. One of the
tenants states ‘Kill your parents, kill your god, kill your teacher.’ Define your
own ideology. And, it’s not saying we have to murder or kill. Take from them what
works for you and then move on.

What is a man?

“Is man defined by his car, the clothes he wears or his job? Who knows?”

What should audiences take from Fight Club? Should people got out punching each
other in the lobby?

“Do you want me to say ‘Yes’ to that? Of course not. My feeling is that this thing
is so dense and so loaded with ideas and ideology. I just want people to have their
interpretation. I don’t want to dictate.”

You’ve got marks all over your knuckles, so are you still fighting?

“That’s because Edward and I just can’t give it up. We had a little round this

Your generation has been dismissed because of lacking direction, but you guys are
not slackers.

“I’m so tired of reading that my generation has no direction. We’re not angst-ridden
slackers. We have real despair and paralysis.”

Is this something you think about a lot?

“Oh yeah. We talked a lot about how we were the first generation to be raised on
television and what that means is a bombardment of advertisements, which means a
selling of a lifestyle. So, it’s more of a no sense of direction. Our ideals in my
generation are if you can work yourself up to a place, you will have this car and
drink this brand of beer and go to these places, restaurants and have this kind of
woman. Again, you’re dealing with image, like that can give you some sort of
spiritual happiness.”

You have it all Brad, aren’t you spiritually happy?

“Well, you see, that’s the thing. No one wants to hear from me that I’m not happy.
[Laughs] There is a definite freedom with money. No question. I do wish everyone
could have that freedom. It’s also a distraction. What you do learn – and this is
why so many people who have made it check out or can’t carry on – is that you ask
yourself, ‘Now, what do I do?’ You’re stuck with yourself. These things don’t add up
to much. You’re still waking up the same and going to bed the same.”

So what do you think of our culture?

“The point is that we have become spectators. Did you see the Emmys the other night?
You can actually order an actor’s wardrobe and whatever the cast of a show is
wearing. It’s a little frightening that we live in this QVC culture where people are
accustomed to sitting on a couch and watching other people live a life. We don’t get
in there and participate. The rage comes from sequestering ourselves.”

What do you do to get out your rage?

“I won’t say there is one form of release. I don’t kick box or do martial arts. I
sing. I’ll turn up the music real loud. I also love traffic. Traffic is this great
form – as long as guns aren’t involved – but traffic is this great way of getting
out your frustrations. You can yell at someone and someone will yell back at you.
You can get it out that way. You can also see someone who wants to get in the lane
and you can let them in the lane and be a nice guy.”

You do that?

“There’s a code there that goes on that’s pretty funny. I’m screaming, ‘That guy did
cut me off!’” [Laughs]

What is harder to do, a fight or love scene?

“It’s harder to gear up for a love scene than a fight scene.”

What do you think of Tyler Durden’s message in the movie?

“I never took it as all bad. It’s a positive Tony Robbins, at times. It’s about
making a connection.”

Do you believe in marriage?

“Of course, I do believe in marriage. But, the characters in this movie — I think
before you get married, you’ve got to figure out your major malfunctions first
before you take on that next step.”

Do you think it take guys longer to decide to get married?

“That, I can’t tell you, because I’m a guy. But, we grow up with these other ideals
which the movie lightly touches on. You always hear about how true love conquers all
and two become one and all that shit. It just doesn’t turn out to be true.”

So two will never become one?

“Two will never become one. Only if you lose yourself completely. Two become two.”

Tyler asks, “What do you want to be like?” And if you ask most guys who they would
want to be like, they are liable to say Brad Pitt.

“Perversion of baggage. That was more dealing with the projection and the image out
there – good and bad – than me, myself, because I’ve never felt a part of that.”

With Fight Club, as with his previous movies, David Fincher seems to be the new wave
of filmmaking.

“I think he is one of the guys leading the pack. He’s out there, really pushing the
medium. I certainly feel like Fincher is picking up where Kubrick left off. And,
this thing that he created here is extraordinary beyond any of our hopes. You always
set out with an image of what this could be and this film exceeded all of our
expectations…Fight Club, on a directorial level, is going to be studied, because
there are so many groundbreaking things he achieved. He would even put product
placement and put them in really violent scenes. There’s these little subliminal
things that make the film brilliant.”

Do you really feel like there’s a male crisis over the masculine ego becoming
obsolete in modern society?

“There are things that are very specific to the males feeling somewhat emasculated
by modern society. We are not hunter/gatherers anymore, we are just consumers. We’ve
become receivers. We’ve gone from having a proactive role to being people who have
to distinguish what sofas or comforters we want. Or we worry about whether the
wallpaper pattern matches the paint.”

So you expect there to be some people offended by Fight Club?

“There are going to be people that are going to be offended and will come up with
some really relevant ideas. But, I expect that. I mean, if you make a movie like
this and don’t irritate somebody, then you’ve done something wrong. It’s an
indictment of what a lot of people embrace. We had fun with questioning some
people’s value systems and have come to a point where they are happily entrenched
with them. I’d be nervous if everyone was going, ‘Oh, it was lovely.’”

What was doing the sex scene with Helena Bonham Carter like?

“When you look through the cracks and see all the shadows, we were literally doing
gymnastics, we were just jumping on the bed.”

Did you and Edward ever talk about switching roles and playing the opposite
character? Could he have been your Tyler Durden?

“It was never mentioned, but I always thought that we could have been switched,

You’re a rich actor in a movie being put out by a big corporation. There is a line
in Fight Club where you say, “People think that they become stars, but they are
starting to figure out that they can’t.”

“I don’t think there is anything in the fact that I’m an actor that invalidates my
participation in a movie with this theme.”

Is the movie pro-anarchy?

“The film is not a literal anarchist handbook. It’s saying that we are hitting a
wall going in this direction, so, what if we turn around the other way and see where
it takes us. It may not be right, but I know the one I’m going in isn’t working.”

Did you break any bones during the fight scenes?

“There were no broken bones, just a few bruised ribs.”

Was it hard to shake the character of Tyler at the end of the day?

“No, not at all. But I’ve never understood that kind of acting. I mean, I’ve heard
the stories about James Dean not knowing who he was when a movie ended. It’s
symbiotic with my personal life in the sense that you are investigating these
things, and, of course, you apply it to yourself. It’s just a gradual evolution of
yourself, I feel like.”

Did you feel a personal evolution from doing Fight Club?

“Absolutely, but I would say that with every film I do. Every step you take is an