Brad Pitt and Edward Norton may have been the only ones who had any fun at the 1999 Venice Film Festival premiere of Fight Club. Pitt revealed in a new interview that he and Norton decided to smoke some weed, which helped to make it "the best screening ever." The movie is based on Chuck Palahniuk's book of the same name and was both loved and hated by critics upon its release. The 56th Venice Film Festival seemed to pretty much hate the movie. And that's where the adventure begins for Pitt and Norton.
Brad Pitt and Edward Norton arrived at the Fight Club Venice premiere and decided that they might need some extra help enjoying the evening. "For some reason [Edward Norton and I] thought it would be a good idea to smoke a joint beforehand," says Pitt. "We go in, and they put you up in a balcony and you sit next to the guy who runs the festival. Everyone's looking at you, they clap, you sit down, it's very formal. And then the movie starts." Now, this doesn't seem like it would be that much fun to be high at a function like this, but for Pitt and Norton, it was only the beginning.
Fight Club hit theaters in 1999 and a lot of audiences weren't sure what to make of it. Some feared it would inspire copycats, while others were just flat out disturbed by what they saw. As for the Venice audience at the premiere, they felt that latter. Pitt had this to say about some of the audience reactions to the jokes in the movie.
"The first joke comes up - and it's crickets. It's dead silence. And another joke, and it's dead silent. This thing is not translating - you know, it's subtitles and it's not translating at all. And the more it happened, the funnier it got to Edward and I... So we just start laughing. We're the assholes in the back laughing at our own jokes - the only ones."
Considering the circumstances, all Brad Pitt and Edward Norton could do was laugh. Plus, considering that they had just smoked some marijuana, it probably was a lot more fun than watching their movie fly over a foreign audience's head while sober. But, things got even better for the duo when the guy who ran the festival decided he had had enough of Fight Club. Pitt explains.
"And then at some point it gets to the Helena Bonham Carter line where she says, 'I haven't been f***ed like that since grade school.' And I watched the festival guy - who had been squirming [for] the whole 30 minutes - just get up and leave.... He doesn't say a word. He just gets up and leaves. Which makes us laugh even more. We had a good time."
While Fight Club had some divisive reviews upon its release, it is now a cult classic, which started when the movie came out on DVD. While not for everybody, there's a lot of movie fans who can recite nearly every piece of dialogue from the movie. In the end, Brad Pitt and Edward Norton had a lot of fun and the Venice premiere, even though the rest of the audience didn't seem to have any fun at all. The interview with Pitt was originally conducted by Marc Maron.