Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Fight Club is a story told by an unreliable narrator about the ways wounded masculinity can become toxic masculinity — and how a populist movement can curdle into something far more violent and authoritarian. It’s an unlikely choice for the source material for a cult-classic film, and yet that’s exactly what it’s become over the years, with David Fincher’s 1999 adaptation of it continuing to spark debate decades after its release.
Adam Nayman’s new book David Fincher: Mind Games explores the director’s work to date, including a detailed look at how his adaptation of Fight Club came together, an excerpt from which recently showed up at Literary Hub.
It’s an intriguing glimpse into the creative process, and, given that both Fincher and Norton would go on to direct other high-profile literary adaptations, it’s also an interesting piece of foreshadowing for the careers that would follow, long after an unexpected cult classic first hit theaters.
• x010 Babylon – On set
• x005 Magazines – Vanity Fair
• x002 Burn After Reading – Behind the Scenes credits to Chississippimixtape
• x002 Thelma and Louise – Behind the Scenes
• x003 Twelve Years a Slave – Portrait (’13) thanks Shann
• x001 Fight Club – License
• x014 De’Longhi – Photoshoot & Behind the Scenes
Jared Leto has worked on a number of impressive films over the course of his career, often while sporting an off-kilter look – including in David Fincher’s 1999 controversial 1999 hit Fight Club. Recently, he revealed exactly why his character in the film, Angel Face, has such noteworthy style, as it turns out that Brad Pitt, who played the iconic Tyler Durden, is partly responsible for Leto’s bleach blond hair.
In a recent interview with GQ, Jared Leto revealed that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood star Brad Pitt was one of the main reasons that he made the choice to bleach his hair in the cult classic. Talking about his experience making the David Fincher film, Leto said,
“I remember bleaching my hair and my eyebrows white. We did one pass, and I think it was Brad Pitt, he said something about, ‘Billy Idol.’ he was like, ‘Blonder!’ So we went even whiter with it. I liked being on that set because I got to watch Brad. He’s incredibly loose, naturalistic; always does something very different take to take and that was interesting to see. Everyone on it just kind of felt like we were just getting into trouble and doing something that was potentially special but on the darker side of the universe.”
It’s been 20 years since David Fincher’s cult classic Fight Club first exploded onto screens. The film, based on Chuck Palahniuk’s 1996 novel of the same name, repelled and excited audiences in equal measure when it was released, changing the optics of how political cinema could or should be – with the first worries of copycat rebels emerging from the gutters. Today, Fight Club boasts a loyal and fervent fanbase still full of praise, discomfort, conspiracy theories and fascination for the iconic relic of modern cinema.
Exclusively for Empire, David Fincher opened his personal photography archives in the 2020 Preview Issue, leafing through his memories on-set, and sharing insights on many of the film’s key ingredients – from the setting of Project Mayhem’s headquarters, to his stellar leading trio of Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter, to the mechanics of successfully shooting Edward Norton’s cheek off. Here’s a sneak preview of the feature, in which Fincher explains why the dynamic of his three stars, as the story’s mismatched trio of lonely and dangerous sociopaths, worked so well – with photos from Fincher’s own collection.
Fight Club archive material courtesy of David Fincher. Black and white photography by Merrick Morton. Special thanks to Ceán Chaffin and Andrea McKee.
• x003 Empire (UK, December 2019)
• x022 April 15, 2017 – Los Angeles, CA.
• x010 April 24, 2017 – Los Angeles, CA.
• x010 January 25, 2017 – Santa Monica, CA.
• x005 June 01 – Universal Studios – Hollywood, CA.
• x003 June 07 – Leaving El Rey Theater – Los Angeles, CA.
• x006 June 18 – Nice, France.
• x007 March 20 – Los Angeles, CA.
• x012 March 30 – Los Angeles, CA.
• x002 War Machine – Stills.
• x001 June 24, 2004 – Rome, Italy.
• x006 May 16, 2017 – The Late Show w/ Stephen Colbert.
• x001 Fight Club – Stills.
Thanks also Vaska!
• x006 March 30, 2017 – Los Angeles, CA.
• x004 April 15, 2017 – Los Angeles, CA.
• x012 May 16, 2017 – New York City, NY.
• x012 May 16, 2017 – The Late Show with Stephen Colbert – New York City, NY.
• x005 June 15, 2017 – Los Angeles, CA.
• x004 July 06, 2017 – Los Angeles, CA.
• x009 Encounters – Brad and ?.
• x021 Movies – Thelma & Louise, Fight Club, War Machine & Fury.
• x002 September, 1992 – A River Runs Through It (Photocall) – Toronto, Canada.
• x011 Young Brad – Candids & Prom/Schoolparties.
Thanks also Vaska!