Fight Club director David Fincher says “I'm not responsible” for far right groups idolizing Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) in his 1999 movie based on the book of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk. In the cult movie, Edward Norton plays the Narrator — a jaded white-collar worker — who forms an underground fight club with soap salesman Tyler Durden.
In an interview with The Guardian, Fincher says, “I’m not responsible for how people interpret things.” His defense is that the Fight Club viewed by today’s aggrieved White men and Proud Boys is not the same as the film that flopped at the box office in 1999. “Language evolves. Symbols evolve,” says Fincher. The Guardian writer Steve Rose suggests to Fincher that Fight Club has still become a touchstone for the far right. “OK, fine,” replies a slightly exasperated Fincher. “It’s one of many touchstones in their lexicography. We didn’t make it for them, but people will see what they’re going to see in a Norman Rockwell painting, or [Picasso’s] Guernica.
“It’s impossible for me to imagine that people don’t understand that Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) is a negative influence,” adds Fincher. “People who can’t understand that, I don’t know how to respond and I don’t know how to help them.”
Fight Club Made News Last Year When a Chinese Streaming Platform Edited the Ending
Spoiler alert to those who still haven't seen Fight Club: Tyler Durden is the Narrator's dark alter ego, a figment of his imagination. Tyler gets out all of the aggression that the white-collar worker trapped in his safe, Ikea world cannot. At the end of the movie, the Narrator kills alter ego Tyler and watches from a skyscraper as buildings explode and collapse around him, just as he orchestrated his fired-up fight club to do.
Variety reports that the censored ending that aired in China cuts to black before the citywide destruction. A title card appears assuring viewers that authorities have stopped the anarchic plan to blow up buildings.
In an interview with Empire, Fincher comments on the censored Fight Club ending. “It’s funny to me that the people who wrote the Band-Aid [ending] in China must have read the book, because it adheres pretty closely [to the final pages of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel],” says Fincher. “If you don’t like this story, why would you license this movie? It makes no sense to me when people go, ‘I think it would be good for our service if we had your title on it… we just want it to be a different movie.’ The f—ing movie is 20 years old. It’s not like it had a reputation for being super cuddly.”
David Fincher's next film, The Killer, is playing in select theaters now and streams on Netflix on November 10.
Robert DeSalvo is a professional writer and editor with over 25 years of experience at print and online publications such as Movieline, Playboy, PCH, Fandango, and The A.V. Club. He currently lives in Los Angeles, the setting of his favorite movie, Blade Runner. Robert has interviewed dozens of actors, directors, authors, musicians, and other celebrities during his journalism career, including Brian De Palma, Nicolas Cage, Dustin Hoffman, John Waters, Sigourney Weaver, Julianne Moore, Bryan Cranston, Anne Rice, and many more. Horror movies, sci-fi, cult films as well as gothic, postpunk, and synthwave music are what Robert geeks over.