- Fight Club has become popular among far-right groups and incels despite its initial box office failure.
- Director David Fincher is confused by their idolization of the negative influence character, Tyler Durden.
- Author Chuck Palahniuk finds it fascinating that these groups identify with Fight Club.
David Fincher’s film Fight Club, a satirical drama about two men forming an underground fight club, did not meet box office expectations when it was released in 1999 and received mixed reviews from critics. However, the film gained a cult following and has recently become a favorite among far-right groups and incels, who relate to the movie’s depiction of unsatisfied men rising against modern American culture.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, Fincher discussed the film’s popularity within these groups: “I’m not responsible for how people interpret things… Language evolves. Symbols evolve.”
Fincher acknowledges the growing number of alt-right fans but is puzzled by their idolization of a negative influence character, Tyler Durden. “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,” he said. “It’s impossible for me to imagine that people don’t understand that Tyler Durden is a negative influence. People who can’t understand that, I don’t know how to respond and I don’t know how to help them.”
Fight Club stars Edward Norton and Brad Pitt (as Tyler Durden) and is based on the 1996 novel by best-selling author Chuck Palahniuk. Palahniuk has also spoken out on Fight Club’s resonance with men who feel weakened by modern society’s standards. In a recent interview with Esquire, the author laughed when questioned about the far right fandom and was more interested in what would happen if there was a male version of the Joy Luck Club or the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (with violence).
In a 2018 interview, Palahniuk said he found the significance of Fight Club within these groups intriguing and highlighted the limited metaphors available for men. “It’s fascinating that the group that can’t get laid is now adopting the same language. It shows how few options men have in terms of metaphors: a skimpy inventory of images. They have ‘The Matrix’ – there’s a lot of red pill, blue pill stuff – and they have ‘Fight Club.’
David Fincher’s next film, The Killer, is set to be released on Netflix on November 10, 2023.