David Fincher says he isn’t responsible for how people interpret ‘Fight Club’: “I don’t know how to help them”
David Fincher has argued that he is “not responsible” for how people interpret his film Fight Club, and that he “can’t help” people who don’t understand that Tyler Durden is a “negative influence”.
In the film, Edward Norton plays an unnamed, discontented man who forms an underground fighting network with strict rules with Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), who persuades him to expand the club into the anti-consumerist organisation Project Mayhem.
Many have observed that the film, which is based on the transgressive 1996 novel by Chuck Palahniuk, anticipated the rise of so-called ‘incels’, short for ‘involuntary celibates’, or straight men who believe their lack of sexual activity is due to political and societal structures.
Speaking to The Guardian, Fincher said, “I’m not responsible for how people interpret things. Language evolves. Symbols evolve.”
When asked whether Fight Club could be seen as a film that supports incels’ world view, he responded: “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 is a negative influence,” he says. “People who can’t understand that, I don’t know how to respond and I don’t know how to help them.”
Fincher’s latest film The Killer was released in UK cinemas yesterday (October 27), and will be released worldwide on Netflix on November 10. It stars Michael Fassbender as an assassin who gets embroiled in an international manhunt after a hit goes wrong.
The Killer is Fincher’s latest involvement with Netflix, following on from 2020’s Mank and his work executive producing House of Cards and Mindhunter.
When asked whether he felt that the influence of streaming services has been damaging to the future of cinema, he said, “No! No. I think, if nothing else, hopefully what we’ve done is be able to say the fence between a movie story and a longer-term commitment is much lower.”
The director has also been speaking about how he initially pitched the idea of directing a Spider-Man film in 1999, hoping to skip the origin story and focus on the character as an adult. “They weren’t fucking interested,” he said.
“And I get it. They were like: ‘Why would you want to eviscerate the origin story?’ And I was like: ‘’Cos it’s dumb?’ That origin story means a lot of things to a lot of people, but I looked at it and I was like: ‘A red and blue spider?’ There’s a lot of things I can do in my life and that’s just not one of them.”
Fincher also revealed that he and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin have discussed the possibility of making a sequel to 2010’s The Social Network, about the rise of Facebook. “Aaron and I have talked about it, but, um … that’s a can of worms.”