The Cast of 'Fight Club,' Then and Now

7:45 AM 10/15/2019

by Emily J. Sullivan and Katherine Schaffstall

As the psychological thriller turns 20 — it first hit theaters Oct. 15, 1999 — take a look back at what else the cast, including Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, was doing then and what they've been up to in the years since.

What happens when a charismatic schizophrenic with a penchant for violence decides to repel consumer capitalism? Project Mayhem happens.

Fight Club was released Oct. 15, 1999, and promptly shocked the masses with its graphic violence and menace-to-society attitude. The controversial film raked in $37 million in the U.S. ($65.6 million in 2019 dollars) and $63.8 million globally. Based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club is known for its gritty aesthetics, manifesto-esque narration, and Brad Pitt’s bloody and shirtless fight scenes — cigarette, anyone?  

"The film, starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, is David Fincher's big-budget tirade about bare-knuckle fighters who form a national network of sociopathic terrorists. No one's faulting the film’s top-notch production values or performances, but many are outraged by its content," wrote Anita M. Busch in her review, which ran in The Hollywood Reporter. 

Although the film had mixed reviews when it hit theaters in 1999, offending the sensibilities of some moviegoers and critics alike — Fight Club became an iconic cult classic after its DVD release and many fans continue to quote its memorable lines today. 

Read below to see what the cast has been up to since the film's release.

  • Edward Norton as The Narrator

    Photofest; George Pimentel/Getty Images

    In Project Mayhem, we have no names. Edward Norton stars in Fight Club as the unnamed narrator who struggles to find meaning in his monotonous life, while his insomnia and lack of purpose are driving him mad ... and then he meets Tyler Durden. "The movie is metaphoric, it's a study of a person going insane to save himself in a way," Norton said of Fight Club and his role as the narrator in an interview that can be seen on YouTube. Norton first garnered critical acclaim for his 1996 portrayal of Aaron Stampler in Primal Fear and then again in 1998 for his role as Derek Vinyard in American History X. In 1999, he was cast as the narrator in Fight Club, starring alongside Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter. Since the release of the film, he's been busy acting and producing various works and can be seen in the upcoming film Motherless Brooklyn — which he also wrote, directed and produced — alongside Bruce Willis and Willem Dafoe, which will be released Nov. 1. His other acting credits include The Score, Frida, Kingdom of Heaven, The Incredible Hulk, Moonrise Kingdom, The Bourne Legacy, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Birdman and Collateral Beauty. Norton also directed and produced the film Keeping the Faith and produced 25th Hour, Down in the Valley, The Painted Veil, Leaves of Grass and Thanks for Sharing.

  • Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden

    Photofest; Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images

    "How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?" The end-all, be-all of Hollywood leading men, Brad Pitt portrays sinister soap salesman Tyler Durden — the guy who fights how you want to fight and looks how you want to look. Pitt first captured the hearts of audiences as the blow-dryer-wielding cowboy in Thelma & Louise in 1991, and since then he has catapulted to the top of the A-list and remained there for nearly three decades. Most recently, Pitt can bee seen as Cliff Booth in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and as astronaut Roy McBride in the film Ad Astra. When The Washington Post asked Pitt in 2014 what his favorite memory from Fight Club was and how he had changed since the film, he started chuckling and said, "Oh man, we had some laughs, that one was just irreverent. Each week was just a study in irreverence. I'm a dad and I've got six kids now, and I don't dabble in the things I used to."

  • Helena Bonham Carter as Marla Singer

    Photofest; Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

    "If I did have a tumor, I'd name it Marla. Marla, the little scratch on the roof of your mouth that would heal if only you could stop tonguing it, but you can't." Marla Singer is the beautiful tortured woman who tours various support group meetings, searching for catharsis in the embrace of dying strangers. Marla is portrayed by British actor Helena Boham Carter, whose breakout role was in the 1985 film A Room With a View as Lucy Honeychurch. Carter is known for her collaborations with film director (and former partner — they split in 2014 after 13 years) Tim Burton and can most recently be seen in projects such as The Crown as Princess Margaret and in 2020 as Mrs. Holmes in Enola Holmes.

  • Jared Leto as Angel Face

    Photofest; Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

    Jared Leto starred in the film as Angel Face, a member recruited to the fight club with a youthful appearance and personality. Additionally, he is included on the missions for Project Mayhem. After his role in the 1999 film, Leto went on to appear in the films Girl, Interrupted, American Psycho, Requiem for a Dream, Panic Room, Alexander, Lord of War, Lonely Hearts, Chapter 27, Mr. Nobody, Suicide Squad, Blade Runner 2049, The Outsider and A Day in the Life of America. Leto earned an Oscar, Golden Globe, Critic's Choice Movie Award and Screen Actors Guild Award in 2013 for his role as Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club. On the television side, Leto directed, produced and appeared in the VyRT documentary Into the Wild, which aired from 2014-15. The documentary gave fans an inside look at the band Thirty Seconds to Mars' year on tour. Leto is the lead vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and main songwriter of the band, which formed in 1998. He also directed, produced and appeared in the interview series Beyond the Horizon from 2015-18 and the documentary Great Wide Open in 2016. The actor and musician has directed music videos for his band including "The Kill," "Kings and Queens" and "Up in the Air." Leto will next appear in the 2020 films Morbius and Little Things.

  • Meat Loaf as Robert Paulson

    Twentieth Century Fox/Photofest; Bruce Glikas/WireImage

    Meat Loaf appears as Robert Paulson, a man whom the narrator meets while attending a testicular cancer support group. Known both as a singer and actor, Meat Loaf has released 13 albums, including 2016's Braver Than We Are.  Additionally, he won a Grammy in 1994 in the best solo rock vocal performance category for the song "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)." His Bat Out of Hell albums — 1977's Bat Out of Hell, 1993's Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell and 2006's Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose — have sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. As an actor, Meat Loaf has appeared in the films Focus, The 51st State, Wishcraft, A Hole in One, Chasing Ghosts, BloodRayne, The Pleasure Drivers, Urban Decay, The Moment, Stage Fright and Wishin' and Hopin'. His television credits include guest appearances on Masters of Horror, House, Glee, Fairly Legal and Elementary, as well as the starring role of Doug Rennie on the 2017 Syfy series Ghost Wars.

  • Zach Grenier as Richard Chesler

    Grenier portrays the narrator's boss Richard Chesler. Since appearing in Fight Club, Greiner has acted in the films Chasing Sleep, Pulse, J. Edgar, RoboCop, Free the Nipple, Manhattan Romance and Crown Heights. In addition to recurring roles on Deadwood, Boston Legal, The Nine, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Zero Hour, BrainDead and Ray Donovan, he also starred on the short-lived USA Network crime drama Touching Evil in 2004. Grenier is best known for his role as David Lee on the CBS drama The Good Wife. The actor had a recurring role on the first four seasons of the series before he was promoted to a main character for the fifth, sixth and seventh seasons. He later reprised the role in a 2017 episode of The Good Fight. The actor will next star on the FX miniseries Devs, which is set to premiere in 2020.

  • Holt McCallany as The Mechanic

    20th Century Fox/Photofest; Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage

    Holt McCallany appeared in Fight Club as the supporting role of The Mechanic. The actor is now best known for his role as Bill Tench on Netflix's Mindhunter, which is executive produced by Fight Club director Fincher. His other television credits include recurring roles on CSI: Miami, Heroes, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Blue Bloods. The actor also starred on the short-lived series Freedom, Lights Out and Golden Boy. On the film side, McCallany has appeared in Below, Blackhat, Sully, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Monster Trucks, Shot Caller, Justice League and Sgt. Will Gardner.