“Fight Club” author Chuck Palahniuk has shared a surprising reaction to this week’s news that China censored the ending of David Fincher’s 1999 movie, which is based on Palahniuk’s 1996 novel of the same name. As reported by Variety, “Fight Club” was uploaded to Tencent Video, China’s largest video streamer, with an entirely new ending that is the exact opposite of Fincher’s finale.
In the 1999 original, Edward Norton’s narrator character kills off his alter ego Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) before watching the city burst into flames in apparent confirmation that his plan to destroy civilization has worked. The new ending in China cuts the film to black before the city erupts in films. An English-language title card appears saying authorities stopped the anarchic plan.
The card reads in full: “The police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding. After the trial, Tyler was sent to lunatic asylum [sic] receiving psychological treatment. He was discharged from the hospital in 2012.”
China’s ending is actually closer to Palahniuk’s original vision for the ending of “Fight Club,” as written in his 1996 book. As Palahniuk told TMZ while reacting to China’s censorship, “The irony is that the way the Chinese have changed it is they’ve aligned the ending almost exactly with the ending of the book, as opposed to Fincher’s ending, which was the more spectacular visual ending. So in a way, the Chinese brought the movie back to the book a little bit.”
The character’s plan to destroy civilization is also foiled in Palahniuk’s “Fight Club” novel, but not because of the police. Instead, the bombs used to destroy the city malfunction. The narrator, played by Norton in the film, then shoots himself and wakes up in a mental hospital.
Speaking to TMZ, Palahniuk said it was interesting that suddenly everyone cared about a censored “Fight Club” ending when he’s spent nearly his entire career fighting censorship and bans when it comes to his books.
“My books are heavily banned throughout the U.S.,” Palahniuk said. “The Texas prison system refuses to carry my books in their libraries. A lot of public schools and most private schools refuse to carry my books. But it’s only an issue once China changes the end of a movie? I’ve been putting up with book banning for a long time.”
Click here to read more about China’s “Fight Club” censorship.