We’re going to break the first and second rules of Fight Club. Another anniversary of an iconic movie, another round-up of interesting behind-the-scenes facts. On Monday we reported on the list of people who were almost in ‘Pulp Fiction’. Today we celebrate the 15th anniversary of David Fincher’s Fight Club, another landmark 90s movie that could have starred Julia-Louis Dreyfuss. Just as she was up for the role of Pulp Fiction‘s Mia Wallace, the Seinfeld star was considered for the part of Marla in Fight Club, but when she met director Fincher, she behaved as if he was a nobody. “She had no idea who I was,” Fincher told TotalFilm. “I’m sitting there thinking of myself, ‘My God, you are such a fucking loser.’” Other actresses considered included star Edward Norton’s then-girlfriend Courtney Love, Reese Witherspoon, Winona Ryder, and Janeane Garofolo. In the end, Brad Pitt suggested that Fincher look at Helena Bonham-Carter. “I was at Brad’s house and he goes, ‘Look at this actress; don’t think about it, just look at this actress’ and he put on the sex scene at the end of The Wings Of The Dove, when Helena’s just so unbelievably sad. I thought she was emotionally exquisite in that movie.”
However, Bonham-Carter needed some convincing to take the part. Her mother read the script first and was repulsed by it. “Mum put the script outside her bedroom, because it was a pollutant! I didn’t get it when I first read it, either. I thought, ‘This is weird. Is this message particularly life-enhancing?’” Life-enhancing is not a term people generally think of when they think of the movie, a strident satire on machismo and capitalism. Because Fincher wanted Marla always to be wreathed in cigarette smoke, he made the actress smoke constantly. “He got obsessed with the smoke. It had to float in a particular way. So I was just always sitting there in a cemetery of cigarette butts.” She smoke so much that she contracted bronchitis. Her farewell gift to him at the end of filming was an x-ray of her lungs.