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Russell Crowe as Tyler Durden? Buck Henry as the screenwriter? The story of FIGHT CLUB!

See the film on the big screen this Sunday at 6 PM at Vintage Park!

Russell Crowe as Tyler Durden? Buck Henry as the screenwriter? The story of FIGHT CLUB!

FIGHT CLUB should never have been made into a movie. At least by Fox. That is not to say that a movie adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's novel should not exist for moral reasons - it just makes no logical sense that a major studio, let alone one owned by Rupert Murdoch, would turn the anti-captalistic, cynicism-drenched debut novel from an Oregonian diesel mechanic into a Hollywood picture with a budget to rival most summer blockbusters.

Regardless of logic, FIGHT CLUB was made into a movie fifteen years ago and Houston audiences have one more chance to see it on the big screen this month when the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - Vintage Park screens David Fincher's darkly comic masterpiece this Sunday, February 23 at 6 PM.

The journey from book to screen is a strange one for FIGHT CLUB. Before the novel was published, an early galley was sent to Fox for possible development as a film. While the studio's readers strongly suggested the book be passed over due to the sheer impossibility that a successful adaptation could be achieved, something took hold in the development team at Fox and they decided to press forward with the Quixotic dream of turning Palahniuk's novel into a film.

In its earliest stages of development, Buck Henry - famed comedian and writer from the '70s - was considered to adapt the novel. If you can believe it, Fox saw similarities between FIGHT CLUB and THE GRADUATE, which Henry had adapted to great success in 1967. Ultimately, though, Fox realized they needed somebody slightly younger to tackle the project - a film they in envisioned as being a zeitgeist of its time.  Jim Uhls was brought in to develop the script while the search for a director began.

Fox had four directors in mind for the project - Peter Jackson - who was finishing work on THE FRIGHTENERS and did not have time to consider the project, Bryan Singer - who passed on the project, Danny Boyle and David Fincher. David Fincher loved the book and knew he had to direct the film - unfortunately, there was the little issue of Fincher's complete and utter lack of interest in working with Fox again. Fincher had famously had a miserable time during the production of Alien 3. Only 27 at the time, Fincher had been walked all over by the studio and he had no interest in putting up with a company he saw as serial micro-managers.

It took some time but Fox finally convinced David Fincher that they were a new studio with new people in charge. Fincher boarded the project but it would be a long and drawn out development as he and the suits clashed on everything from casting to budget. Fincher, though, wasn't going to be pushed around anymore and there were several times when - faced with a stubborn studio - Fincher gave them the option of making the movie his way or not making it at all. The director even gained a nickname from the studio's marketing team - Doberman Fincher.

When it came to casting, Russell Crowe was originally the top choice for Tyler Durden. The studio felt they needed a huge name to sell the project, though, and Fincher recruited his pal from SE7EN, Brad Pitt. With the help of Pitt and screenwriter Uhls, Fincher developed the character of Durden into the sarcastic, charismatic psycho that cult audiences grew to obsess over. To the studio, Pitt seemed like a genius choice - he was a marquee name that would bring in the female audience. Unfortunately, the studio's marketing team would quickly learn that Pitt was actually poison for the film's marketing. Women didn't want to see a movie called FIGHT CLUB - regardless of who starred in it - and men didn't like Pitt because of the way their girlfriends and wives ogled the handsome actor. For the role of the narrator (nicknamed Jack in the script), Fincher wanted Edward Norton. While the studio had their heart set on somebody like Matt Damon, they were willing to hire Norton - unfortunately some legal wrangling would have to be undertaken as Norton was contracted for another movie at Paramount. It was Norton acting in FIGHT CLUB that would actually force him to star in THE ITALIAN JOB a few years later - a movie Edward Norton wanted nothing to do with.

In the end, though, the stars aligned and the impossible happened - not only did David Fincher successfully adapt the novel to the big screen, his adaptation is arguably better than the book itself. At least Chuck Palahniuk thinks so. In recent months, Palahniuk has made noises about a possible sequel to FIGHT CLUB told in graphic novel form. The sequel, though, will be for the movie, not his original book. Palahniuk prefers the ending Fincher and his team dreamed up more than the one the writer originally penned.

Don't miss a screening of FLIGHT CLUB this Sunday at Vintage Park. The movie may have been a critical and commercial failure upon its original release but the last 15 years have been extremely kind to Fincher's film and this is a movie that deserves to be reevaluated on the big screen with a crowd of enthusiastic, appreciative fans. I personally haven't seen the film since 2001 or 2002. A quote from Quentin Tarantino has really stuck with me. "I adored it," Tarantino said. "It was like a diamond bullet in my brain when I saw that movie. And you know, to this day, I've only seen it twice, and I could watch that movie all the time. But actually I love it so much I don’t want to overuse it. I want to wait."

Well, I've waited long enough. It's time to revisit FIGHT CLUB!

Buy tickets here!


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