fight club factsLet's break the first rule of "Fight Club" and talk about "Fight Club." In fact, people haven't stopped talking about it since it was released 15 years ago this week, on October 15, 1999.

David Fincher's adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's satirical novel, starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, continues to fascinate with its portrayal of masculinity in crisis, its cathartic bare-knuckle violence, its anarchic critique of capitalism (and its humanist critique of that critique), and its mind-bending third-act plot twist that throws Norton's entire narration into doubt. It's a movie that makes you feel the same rush the characters feel, then makes you question yourself for enjoying that rush.

Despite endless analysis and late-night dorm-room bull sessions, there's still plenty about "Fight Club" that you may not know, from who almost played Tyler Durden to how they gave Meat Loaf his "bitch tits." Read on, and share these items with your single-serving friends.

1. Producers originally sought Buck Henry to adapt Palahniuk's novel, since they saw similarities between "Fight Club" and Henry's celebrated screenplay from "The Graduate" from three decades earlier. Nonetheless, unproduced screenwriter Jim Uhls lobbied for and landed the gig.

2. For the role of Fight Club and Project Mayhem founder Tyler Durden, producers initially sought Russell Crowe before turning to the more bankable Brad Pitt.

3. Pitt had his tooth caps removed to give Tyler a seedier smile.

4. For the nameless narrator, the filmmakers thought of Matt Damon or Sean Penn before Fincher chose Norton, based on the strength of his performance as the earnest lawyer in "The People vs. Larry Flynt."

5. Norton, having just bulked up to play the muscular lead in "American History X," had to lose about 20 pounds to play the wiry "Fight Club" protagonist. His diet and exercise regimen: vitamins, running, and avoiding the craft services table.

6. To play the film's female lead, slatternly Marla Singer, the filmmakers sought Janeane Garofalo, but she turned down the film because of Marla's brazen sexuality. Also considered were Winona Ryder and Norton's "Larry Flynt" co-star Courtney Love.

7. At the time she won the role of Marla Singer, Helena Bonham Carter was known primarily for her decorous, corseted performances in such period pieces as "A Room With a View" and "Howards End." But she'd also recently done her first nude scene (in another period film, the adaptation of Henry James' "The Wings of the Dove"), so she was comfortable with the sexuality required of Marla. In interviews, Bonham Carter insisted that the punkish waif Marla was the movie character on her resume that was closest to her real-life self – a claim that's a lot easier to believe now than it was then.

8. The two lead actors were paid a total of $20 million between them. Pitt got $17.5 million of that, while Norton got $2.5 million.

9. A notorious perfectionist, Fincher reportedly shot 1,500 reels of film, three times the average for a Hollywood studio picture.

10. To play Bob, a character whose post-surgical hormone therapy has given him womanly breasts, Meat Loaf wore a 38-pound beanbag prosthetic harness. "I was padded from my knees all the way to my elbows," the once-hefty rocker/actor said while promoting the film. "It's all flaxseed. If we had been doing Hitchcock's 'The Birds,' I would have been dead."

11. Fincher's "Seven" screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker served as an uncredited script doctor and did a polish of Uhls' screenplay.

12. Initially set for a July 1999 release, the film's premiere date was postponed twice after April's massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Distributor Twentieth Century Fox didn't want the film to be blamed in case copycat episodes of off-screen violence occurred. Fincher's response to the delays: "It would be nice if you could limit all the information people get to only the things that are healthy and help them through whatever dark times they're in. But the fact is, we don't know what that is. We can't say 'Doom' made Columbine, or Leonardo DiCaprio in a black trenchcoat [in 'The Basketball Diaries'] made Columbine. People have to start taking responsibility for their own actions."

13. The film's budget was initially $23 million, but by the time the stars were paid, the long shoot (138 days) was completed, and special effects were added, the cost had ballooned to $63 million. It earned back just $37 million in North American theaters, though its worldwide total was $100 million.

14. "Fight Club" was nominated for just one Oscar, for Best Sound Editing, which it lost to "The Matrix."

15. The fears of the marketers and some critics that the film would inspire real-life violence came true, with a number of bare-knuckle brawling clubs springing up across the U.S. Some members even built crude bombs in emulation of Tyler Durden's "Project Mayhem." Clearly, some people did not get the joke.

Fight Club Movie Poster
Fight Club
Based on 35 critics

A depressed man (Edward Norton) suffering from insomnia meets a strange soap salesman named Tyler Durden... Read More