Fight Club Beat Sheet

Fight Club Beat Sheet Screenplay How To

Screenplay by Jim Ohls
Based on the novel by Chuck Palahnuik
Directed by David Fincher
Running time: 137 minutes
Year: 1999

BASIC STORY MAP

Fight Club Beat Sheet Basic Story Map

PROTAGONIST: Narrator, 30s, recall coordinator for a large automobile company
CHARACTERIZATION/MAIN MISBEHAVIOR: Suffers from dissociative identity disorder / Materialist / Insomniac
EXTERNAL GOAL: To cure his insomnia / To fight / To investigate Project Mayhem / To stop Tyler
INTERNAL GOAL: To feel alive
MAIN DRAMATIC CONFLICT: Tyler Durden
THEMES: The closer you are to death, the more you feel alive / Consumerism / Emasculation / Nihilism
CENTRAL DRAMATIC QUESTION: Will Narrator stop Tyler?
ENDING: Narrator shoots himself and kills Tyler.
ARC: Narrator goes from a man unable to live life, to a man who puts himself inches from death to feel alive again.

STORY ENGINES

Fight Club Beat Sheet Story Engines

ACT I

After being denied sleeping pills for insomnia, Narrator attends a support group for testicular cancer. Though he doesn’t have cancer, he feels alive being close to people who have came close to death. When he comes home from a business trip and finds his condo and all his possessions destroyed, Narrator calls a charismatic soap salesmen named Tyler Durden. The two men talk over a few beers at Lou’s Tavern. Their evening ends with a strange request when Tyler asks Narrator to hit him. The two men fight and strangely enough, enjoy it.

ACT II

Narrator moves in to Tyler’s run-down home. The fights at Lou’s Tavern gain devoted followers and they officially start “Fight Club.” Tyler begins a sexual relationship with Narrator’s nemesis, Marla Singer. Later, he forces Narrator to endure a chemical burn. Narrator digs deep and finds a way to control the pain.

ACT III

Narrator extorts his boss for his salary and benefits and becomes able to devote all his time and money to Fight Club. This allows Tyler to turn his home into a boot camp for Project Mayhem. After a high-rise apartment fire catches the attention of the police commissioner, Project Mayhem members successfully intimidate him and have all investigations related to their activities suspended.

ACT IV

Tyler disappears and a massive project begins at his house, but the members will not let Narrator in on the plan. When his good friend Bob is killed carrying out one of Tyler’s missions, Narrator flies across the country to track down Tyler and discovers Project Mayhem has spread across the United States. During a phone call with Marla, she calls him Tyler. After they hang up, Tyler appears in the hotel room and confirms that they are the same person.

ACT V

Narrator flies back home and finds a large bomb-making operation at Tyler’s house. He goes to the police, but discovers the detectives are in on Project Mayhem. He manages to escape the police and disarms one of ten bombs before Tyler subdues him. On the top floor of a skyscraper, Narrator realizes the power of Tyler is all in his mind. He then shoots himself in the mouth and kills Tyler. Project Mayhem members bring Marla up and Narrator, blood gushing from his jaw, demands they leave them alone. Narrator assures Marla everything’s fine, his only excuse being that she met him at “really strange time.” A romantic moment, they hold hands and watch the demolition of Project Mayhem’s target buildings unfold in front of them.

FIGHT CLUB FULL BEAT SHEET

ACT I

Sequence I: Seeking relief from insomnia, Narrator visits a doctor, but is denied sleeping pills. After Narrator begs, insisting he’s truly suffering, the doctor recommends he witness real pain at testicular cancer support group. Narrator attends the group and breaks down: The closer he is to death, the more he feels alive.

Fight Club Beat Sheet Opening Image

3 – OPENING IMAGES: On an abandoned floor of a skyscraper, TYLER DURDEN has a gun in the mouth of our NARRATOR.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

We have front row seats for this theater of mass destruction. The demolitions committee of Project Mayhem wrapped the foundation columns of a dozen buildings with blasting gelatin. In two minutes, primary charges will blow base charges and a few square blocks will be reduced to smoldering ruble. I know this because Tyler knows this.

(beat)

And suddenly I realize that all of this -- the gun, the bombs, the revolution -- has got something to do with a girl named Marla Singer.

Note: The bulk of Fight Club is told in flashback. The audience catches up with the opening scene 130 minutes into the film.

4 – FLASHBACK: Narrator attends a support group for testicular cancer. He hugs a former steroid abuser, a testicular cancer survivor with “bitch tits” named BOB.

5 – FLASHBACK: Narrator backs up: He’s had insomnia for too long. At work, he just goes through the motions…

NARRATOR (V.O.)

With insomnia, nothing’s real. Everything’s far away. Everything’s a copy, of a copy, of a copy. When deep space exploration ramps up it will be the corporations that name everything.

7 – Narrator goes to a doctor and requests pills for his insomnia, but the doctor refuses.

NARRATOR

Hey, come on. I’m in pain.

DOCTOR

You wanna see pain? Swing by First Methodist Tuesday nights. See the guys with testicular cancer. That’s pain.

8 – Narrator attends a support group for testicular cancer.

Fight Club Beat Sheet Inciting Incident

10 – INCITING INCIDENT: Assigned a partner, Narrator listens to Bob’s sob story. Bob turns to him, insisting it’s okay for him to cry, too. Bob embraces Narrator between his large tits, and Narrator begins to cry.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

And then, something happened. I let go. Lost in oblivion. Dark and silent and complete. I found freedom. Losing all hope was freedom.

_______________________________

Sequence II: Narrator feels alive for the first time in years…until a charlatan named Marla Singer infiltrates his support groups. He confronts her, and with a little persuasion, they agree to split their groups.

10 – Cured of insomnia, Narrator sleeps like a baby. He attends more support groups, including Incest Survivors and Alcoholics Anonymous.

11 – Attending a new group, Narrator meditates, finding his “cave” and his “power animal,” the penguin.

12 – While in his testicular cancer group, Narrator’s new-found peace is disrupted by a charlatan named MARLA SINGER.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

Every evening I died and every evening I was born again. Resurrected. Bob loved me because he thought my testicles were removed, too. Being there, pressed against his tits, ready to cry, this was my vacation. And she ruined it.

13 – Marla attends most of the support groups (Blood Parasites, Sickle Cell Circle, Tuberculosis) Narrator does. Knowing she’s an impostor brings back his problems.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

Marla, the big tourist. Her lie reflected my lie and suddenly I felt nothing. I couldn’t cry, so once again, I couldn’t sleep.

15 – At a support group, Narrator goes to his metaphorical “cave” where he finds Marla instead of his penguin.

16 – Narrator confronts Marla. He threatens to expose her, but much to his dismay, she threatens to expose him in return.

19 – Narrator and Marla arrange to split their groups up equally. Perhaps a bit intrigued by her, he gets her phone number as they part ways.

_______________________________

Sequence III: After returning home from a business trip, Narrator finds his condo and everything he owns destroyed. He calls a charismatic soap salesmen named Tyler Durden, a man he met on his last flight, for a little camaraderie.

21 – Narrator walks us through his thoughts on travel, “single-serving friends,” and his job.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

I was a recall coordinator. My job was to apply the formula. A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at sixty miles-per-hour. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field A and multiply it by the probable rate of failure B, multiply the result by the average out-of-court settlement C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don’t do one.

24 – On his flight home, Narrator meets TYLER DURDEN, a charismatic soap salesman.

TYLER

The illusion of safety. You know why they put oxygen masks on planes?

NARRATOR

So you can breathe.

TYLER

Oxygen gets you high. In a catastrophic emergency, you’re taking giant, panicked breaths. Suddenly you become euphoric, docile. You accept your fate.

25 – Narrator proclaims Tyler the most interesting, “single-serving friend” he’s ever met.

27 – STRONG MOVEMENT FORWARD: Narrator comes home to find his condo has exploded, destroying everything he owned. He calls Marla Singer, but doesn’t speak when she answers.

Note: Destroying everything he owns is Narrator’s own action, albeit a subconscious one.

29 – Seeking some camaraderie, and maybe a place to say, Narrator calls Tyler Durden.

_______________________________

Sequence IV: Tyler discusses consumerism with Narrator over a few beers. Before they part ways, Tyler offers Narrator a place to stay. Their evening ends with a strange request: Tyler asks Narrator to hit him “as hard as he can” and the two men begin fighting. Surprisingly, they enjoy it.

30 – Narrator meets Tyler at Lou’s Tavern and reflects on the loss of his condo and belongings. Narrator felt so close to feeling “complete.” Tyler is empathetic, but more than anything else, perceptive…

TYLER

The things you own end up owning you.

32 – Tyler asks if Narrator wants to stay at his place and Narrator accepts.

34 – Narrator walks us through Tyler’s part-time jobs: As a projectionist, Tyler splices single frames of pornography into family films; As a banquet waiter, he pisses in the lobster bisque.

Fight Club Beat Sheeet End of Act One Turn

35 – END OF ACT ONE TURN: Outside Lou’s Tavern, Tyler throws Narrator off guard with a strange request…

TYLER

I want you to hit me as hard as you can.

NARRATOR

What do you want me to do? You just want me to hit you?

TYLER

Come on. Do me this one favor.

NARRATOR

Why?

TYLER

Why? I don’t know why. I don’t know. Never been in a fight. You?

NARRATOR

No, but that’s a good thing.

TYLER

No, it is not. How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?

36 – DECISION: Narrator punches Tyler on the ear. As Tyler curls over in pain, Narrator sympathetically approaches and Tyler punches him in the chest. They shake off the pain and go at it again. After all, fighting is fun, goddammit.

36 – The two men fight in the parking lot. Later, bloodied and bruised, they share a beer outside Tyler’s run-down home. Narrator recommends that they should do it again.

_______________________________

ACT II

Sequence I: Narrator moves in to Tyler’s run-down home. His problems seem to mean little the more he fights. Their fights gain devoted followers. They name it “Fight Club.”

37 – Tyler takes Narrator to his Paper St. House, an old, run-down three story home.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

I don’t know how Tyler found that house, but he said he’d been there for a year. It looked like it was waiting to be torn down. Most of the windows were boarded up. There was no lock on the front door from when the police, or whoever kicked it in. Stairs were ready to collapse. I didn’t know if he owned it or was squatting. Neither would have surprised me. What a shithole.

38 – Outside Lou’s Tavern, Tyler and Narrator’s fight gain the attention of two men.

38 – Knee deep water in the basement, Tyler shuts off the power to the house.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

By the end of the first month, I didn’t miss T.V. I didn’t even mind the warm, stale refrigerator.

39 – In the parking lot of Lou’s Tavern, the popularity of the Fight Club increases.

40 – Battered and bruised, Narrator is questioned by his boss over problems at work, but it means nothing.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

After fighting, everything else in your life got the volume turned down. You could deal with anything.

41 – Tyler asks Narrator, if he could fight anymore, who would it be. Without missing a beat, he says his boss. Tyler would fight his father.

TYLER

My dad never went to college, so it was real important that I go.

NARRATOR

Sounds familiar.

TYLER

So, I graduate, call him up long-distance, and said, ‘Dad, now what?’ He says, ‘get a job.’

NARRATOR

Same here.

TYLER

Now I’m twenty-five, my yearly call again, I say, ‘Dad, now what?’ He says, ‘I don’t know. Get married.’

NARRATOR

I can’t get married. I’m a thirty-year-old boy.

TYLER

We’re a generation of men raised by women. I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.

41 – Tyler and Narrator go through their daily routines and Fight Club gains devoted followers.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

Most of the week we were Ozzy and Harriet, but every Saturday night, we were finding something out. We were finding out more and more that we were not alone.

42 – On the way home from work, Narrator spots Marla leaving a support group, but doesn’t approach her.

Fight Club Beat Sheet First Trial

44 – FIRST TRIAL: Now dubbed “Fight Club,” they move into the basement of Lou’s Tavern.

_______________________________

Sequence II: Narrator receives a call from Marla and leaves the phone off the hook as she talks of suicide. Tyler then picks up the phone and goes to Marla’s apartment. The next morning, Narrator finds her at the house and quickly realizes Tyler had sex with her.

45 – Narrator sees Fight Club members in everyday life. They exchange looks, but do not talk.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

You weren’t alive anywhere like you were there. But Fight Club only exists in the hours between when Fight Club starts and when Fight Club ends. Even if I could tell someone they had a good fight, I wouldn’t be talking to the same man. Who you were in Fight Club is not who you were in the rest of the world. A guy came to Fight Club for the first time, his ass was a wad of cookie dough. After a few weeks, he was carved out of wood.

46 – On a city bus, Tyler and Narrator comment on a Calvin Klein underwear ad.

NARRATOR

Is that what a man looks like?

TYLER

Self-improvement is masturbation. Now, self-destruction...

47 – A doctor stitches up Narrator after a brutal fight. Narrator repeats Tyler’s answers to the doctor’s questions.

49 – Narrator receives a call from Marla, asking why he hasn’t shown up to any meetings in the last couple months. As he attempts to end the call, she claims she has a stomach full of Xanax, but it’s not a “for-real suicide.” He lets her continue to talk and leaves the phone off the hook.

49 – Narrator dreams about having sex with Marla. When he wakes, he finds Tyler’s door shut and used condoms in the toilet.

50 – FIRST CASUALTY: Eating breakfast, Narrator’s shocked to find Marla, in a surprisingly good mood, in the house.

NARRATOR

This is my house. What are you doing in my house?

Marla looks at him a beat, then throws the cup into the sink.

MARLA

Fuck you.

She kick open the door to the backyard and walks out.

Fight Club Beat Sheet First Casualty

51 – FLASHBACK: Tyler picks up the phone. He gets to Marla’s apartment moments before the cops get there regarding her suicide attempt.

53 – Tyler reflects upon the crazy sex he had with Marla…

TYLER

And the shit that came out of this woman’s mouth, I ain’t never heard.

CUT TO: Tyler and Marla in bed.

MARLA

My God, I haven’t been fucked like that since grade school.

54 – Tyler makes Narrator promise to never speak to Marla about him or the things that happen in the house.

_______________________________

Sequence III: Tyler and Narrator steal fat from a liposuction clinic to make soap. Later, Tyler forces Narrator to endure a chemical burn. Narrator digs deep and finds a way to control the pain.

56 – Bruised and bloodied, Narrator’s boss sends him home from work, demanding he get himself together.

56 – Narrator comes home to Tyler and Marla having loud sex. He comments he never sees them in the same room.

58 – The police call Narrator to inform him that dynamite was used to destroy his condo.

59 – Marla approaches Narrator and grabs his crotch. When he doesn’t react to her advances, she gets pissed and leaves.

62 – Tyler and Narrator steal fat from the dumpsters of a liposuction clinic.

62 – At home, Tyler uses the fat to make soap.

TYLER

Once the tallow hardens you can skim off a layer of glycerin. If you were to add nitric acid, you got nitro-glycerin. If you were to then add sodium nitrate, a dash of sawdust, you got dynamite.

(beat)

Yeah, with enough soap, you could blow up about damn near anything.

63 – Tyler gives Narrator a history lesson on soap.

TYLER

Now, ancient peoples found their clothes got cleaner when they washed them at a certain point in the river. Do you know why?

NARRATOR

No.

TYLER

Human sacrifices were once made on the hills above this river. Bodies burned, water speeded through the wood ashes to create lye.

Tyler holds up a can of lye.

TYLER

This is lye -- the crucial ingredient. The lye combined with the melted fat of the bodies, ’til a thick white soapy discharge crept into the river. May I see your hand please?

Tyler licks his lips until they’re gleaming wet. He takes Narrator’s hand and KISSES the back of it. The saliva shines in the shape of a kiss.

NARRATOR

What is this?

TYLER

This is a chemical burn.

Tyler pours a bit of the flaked lye onto Narrator’s hand. Narrator’s whole body JERKS. Tyler holds tight to Narrator’s hand. Tears well in Narrator’s eyes; his face tightens.

64 – Tyler breaks down Narrator…

TYLER

You can run water over your hand and make it worse, or -- look at me -- you can use vinegar to neutralize the burn.

NARRATOR

Please let me have it! Please!

TYLER

First, you have to give up. First, you have to know, not fear, know that someday you’re gonna die.

NARRATOR

You don’t know how this feels!

Tyler shows Narrator his scarred hand.

TYLER

It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.

Fight Club Beat Sheet Midpoint

65 – MIDPOINT: Narrator accepts and controls the pain. Tyler pours vinegar over the wound and neutralizes the burn. Tyler congratulates him, saying “you’re one step closer to hitting bottom.”

ACT III

Sequence I: Narrator stands up to his boss and rejects Marla’s sexual advances. Later, he discovers his old friend Bob is a member of Fight Club. Tyler takes a severe beating from the mobster owner of Lou’s Tavern, but turns the tables, scaring his attacker, and secures the location for the club.

65 – Tyler sells soap to department stores.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

It was beautiful. We were selling rich women their own fat asses back to them.

67 – Narrator’s boss reprimands him, accusing him of leaving a Fight Club memorandum on the copy machine. Narrator turns the tables, insisting his boss be extremely careful when talking about Fight Club because he could instigate a deranged maniac.

68 – Marla calls Narrator over to her apartment. Once there, she requests he feel her breast for lumps. Oblivious to the sexual subtext, she kisses him. Much to her dismay, he leaves.

69 – Outside Marla’s place, Narrator runs into Bob. Turns out Bob’s a Fight Club member, too.

70 – Narrator fights Bob at Fight Club. Bob gets him in a choke hold and Narrator taps out.

TYLER

Man, I see in Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War, no Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war. Our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.

73 – As an evening of Fight Club begins, Tyler receives a visit from a mobster-like figure, Lou, the owner of Lou’s Tavern. Lou’s bodyguard pulls a gun on Tyler: Lou wants them out. Tyler provokes Lou and Lou begins beating the living shit out of him.

74 – The moment Lou believes he has Tyler down, Tyler pops up and tackles him, spitting and slinging blood in his face. As Lou’s bodyguard pull Tyler off, Tyler begs Lou to let them use the basement. Anything to get Tyler off him, Lou agrees.

75 – Tyler gives Fight Club an assignment: Start a fight with a total stranger…and lose.

_______________________________

Sequence II: Fight Club members start fights with strangers. Narrator extorts his boss for his salary and benefits and becomes able to devote all his time and money to Fight Club.

76 – Fight Club members attempt to start fights: One member attacks a car salesman; Bob attacks people outside a high-rise; A gas station attendant sprays people with water and starts a fight with a preacher. All attacks are comical, not violent.

77 – Narrator demands full salary from his boss for not letting the secrets of the company go public. His boss refuses and immediately calls security.

78 – Narrator begins kicking his own ass in the privacy of his boss’ office.

Fight Club Beat Sheet Assumption of Power

79 – ASSUMPTION OF POWER: Narrator, blood gushing from his face, crawls to his boss and begs for the salary and benefits. Seconds later, security bursts into the room. It appears the boss beat the living shit out of him.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

Telephone, computer, fax machine, fifty-two weekly paychecks, and forty-eight airline flight coupons: we now had corporate sponsorship. This is how Tyler and I were able to have Fight Club every night of the week.

_______________________________

Sequence III: Tyler’s assignments now carry the intent of anti-corporatism through vandalism and destruction. Narrator finds bunk beds in the basement and discovers Tyler is now bringing recruits to the house. For what, he does not know.

80-82 – Tyler hands out new Fight Club assignments: Plastering billboards with bogus, environmentally damaging information; Ruining videos at Blockbuster with magnets; Over-feeding pigeons so they shit like mad over a BMW car dealership; Replacing airline safety brochures with ones depicting the terror of a crash.

83 – Tyler takes a convenience store clerk behind the store at gun-point and forces him on his knees. Grabbing the clerk’s wallet, Tyler questions him about his life, discovering he once wanted to be a veterinarian.

84 – Tyler gives the clerk his wallet back, but keeps the driver’s license. Tyler insists he will kill him in six weeks if he’s not on his way to becoming a veterinarian.

NARRATOR

That wasn’t funny. What was the fuck was the point of that?

TYLER

Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Ramon J Hessel’s life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted.

88 – Marla attempts to get closer to Narrator, but Tyler, hiding in the basement, commands he cut their conversation short. Frustrated, Marla leaves.

88 – Narrator discovers Tyler has installed bunk beds in the basement of his house.

89 – A man waits on the front porch. Tyler tells Narrator to only let him in if he waits without food and water for three days.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

Sooner or later, we all became what Tyler wanted us to be.

_______________________________

Sequence IV: Fight Club members become recruits and endure boot camp Tyler’s house. Upon discovering them responsible for a high-rise apartment fire, Narrator discovers Fight Club has evolved into something much riskier and far more daring: Project Mayhem.

90 – After three days, Tyler allows the man on the front porch into the house. Bob waits next to him and Tyler tells him he’s too old. As Bob begins to walk away, Narrator brings him back on to the porch, encouraging him to wait it out.

91 – More recruits show up. They begin cleaning up the house and planting a garden.

92 – Narrator comes home to find Tyler, covered in green paint, in good spirits. Tyler gives him a twelve pack of beer for the men.

92 – On the news, a reporter questions the police commissioner. He believes the random acts of vandalism are linked to boxing clubs.

Fight Club Beat Sheet End of Act Three Turn

93 – END OF ACT THREE TURN: The news cameras reveal a wide-shot of the scene: a high-rise building has a small fire in two rooms on the upper floors. There is a giant, green happy face surrounding it, its eyes the fires. The men have smears of green paint on them.

NARRATOR

What the fuck did you guys do?

The men laugh.

BOB

Sir, the first rule of Project Mayhem is you do not ask questions, sir.

_______________________________

Sequence V: Project Mayhem members intimidate the police commissioner and have investigations related to their activities suspended.

94 – The police commissioner attends a banquet. Project Mayhem members work as banquet waiters and follow him to the restroom.

Fight Club Beat Sheet End of Act Three Decision

95 – DECISION: As the commissioner enters the restroom, Tyler knocks him down. The men lock the door, pull down the commissioner’s pants, and tie a rubber band around his testicles.

TYLER

Hi. You’re gonna call of your rigorous investigation. You’re gonna publicly state that there is no underground group, or... these guys are gonna take your balls. They’re gonna send one to The New York Times and one to the LA Times press release style.

96 – On their way out, Narrator notices Tyler’s affection of one of Project Mayhem more handsome members, Angel Face.

_______________________________

ACT IV

Sequence I: In an act of jealousy over exclusion from Project Mayhem, Narrator nearly beats one of its members to death. On the way home from Fight Club, Tyler reveals that he blew up Narrator’s condo. He then pulls Narrator closer to death, causing a car accident that almost takes their lives.

Fight Club Beat Sheet Angel Face Beating

97 – During Fight Club, Narrator fights Angel Face, beating him to the point of disfigurement. Appalled and shocked, the men gather around, but do not stop him.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

I felt like putting a bullet between the eyes of every panda that wouldn’t screw to save its species. I wanted to open the dump valves on oil tankers and smother all those French beaches I’d never see. I wanted to breathe smoke.

98 – Tyler questions Narrator over the incident. Narrator replies that he “felt like destroying something beautiful.”

99 – Tyler drives Narrator home and Narrator voices his anger over not being included in Project Mayhem.

100 – Tyler plays chicken with oncoming cars, demanding everyone in the car say what they want to do with their lives.

100 – Tyler takes blame for blowing up Narrator’s condo.

TYLER

Why do you think I blew up your condo?

NARRATOR

What?

TYLER

Hitting bottom isn’t a weekend retreat. It isn’t a god damn seminar. Stop trying to control everything and just let go. Let go!

101 – Tyler lets go of the wheel and everyone buckles up. Their car veers off the road, shoots down a steep incline, and rolls.

NARRATOR

I’d never been in a car accident. This must’ve been what all those statistics felt like before I filed them into my reports.

102 – Tyler pulls Narrator out of the wrecked vehicle and begins laughing…

TYLER

We just had a near-life experience!

_______________________________

Sequence II: Tyler disappears and a massive project begins at the house, but Project Mayhem members will not let Narrator in on the plan. Carrying out one of Tyler’s missions, Bob is killed. In an attempt to locate Tyler, Narrator searches Tyler’s room and finds plane tickets.

102 – Narrator lies in bed, traumatized after the accident. Tyler consoles him…

TYLER

In the world I see -- you’re stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You will wear leather clothes that last you the rest of your life. You will climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. You will see tiny figures pounding corn and laying-strips of venison on the empty car pool lane of the ruins of a superhighway.

104 – Narrator wakes to find Tyler gone, but the house alive. A massive project is underway and no one will tell him anything.

105 – Now drunk, Narrator finds Marla in the backyard. She asks to come inside, but Narrator says that Tyler is gone. Perplexed, perhaps a bit hurt, she storms off.

106 – As Marla leaves, Narrator is alerted to activity in the house: Two Project Mayhem members were shot during one of Tyler’s assignments, Operation Latte Thunder — an effort to destroy corporate art and trash a franchise coffee shop.

107 – Narrator discovers Bob was killed. He berates all the Project Mayhem members for their carelessness and the loss of Bob’s life.

108 – In an effort to find Tyler, Narrator searches Tyler’s room and discovers plane tickets.

_______________________________

Sequence III: Narrator flies from city to city to track down Tyler and discovers Project Mayhem has spread across the United States. During a phone call with Marla, she calls him Tyler. After they hang up, Tyler appears in the hotel room and confirms his fear: They are, in fact, the same person.

109 – Narrator flies to all the cities Tyler visited.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

Every city I went to, as soon as I stepped foot off the plane, I knew if Fight Club was close.

110 – All men he questions refuse to talk about Tyler.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

Tyler had been busy setting up franchises all across the country.

Fight Club Beat Sheet Bartender

112 – Attempting to locate Tyler, Narrator stumbles upon a bartender who recognizes him…

BARTENDER

How have you been?

NARRATOR

Do you know me?

BARTENDER

Is this a test, sir?

NARRATOR

No, this is not a test.

BARTENDER

You were in here last Thursday. You were standing exactly where you are right now, asking how good security is. It’s tight as a drum, sir.

NARRATOR

Who do you think I am?

BARTENDER

Are you sure this isn’t a test?

NARRATOR

No, this is not a test.

BARTENDER

You’re Mr. Durden.

113 – Narrator rushes to his hotel room and calls Marla, insisting to know if they’ve had sex or not. Offended, she rattles off all the things he’s done wrong and calls by the name she knows: Tyler.

114 – Tyler appears in the hotel room the moment Marla hangs up. Narrator demands to know how people are confusing them.

114 – FLASHBACK: Previous scenes are replaced with Narrator in place of Tyler:

  • Narrator muscles the police commissioner
  • Narrator chemical burns his own hand
  • Narrator beats the shit out of himself in the parking lot of Lou’s Tavern
  • Narrator talks to himself in the hotel room

Fight Club Beat Sheet End of Act Four Turn

114 – END OF ACT FOUR TURN: Tyler has Narrator admit they’re the same person.

TYLER

You were looking for a way to change your life. You could not do this on your own. All the ways you wish you could be...that’s me. I look like you wanna look. I fuck like you wanna fuck. I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I’m free in all the ways you are not.

115 – Tyler suggests they kill Marla because she knows too much about their operation and Narrator passes out from the stress.

_______________________________

ACT V

Sequence I: Narrator flies home and discovers a large bomb-making operation at Tyler’s house.

116 – Narrator wakes to find the phone off the hook and Tyler gone. On his way out of way out of the hotel, the clerk stops him to approve the calls he made. He views the calls and knows Tyler was setting something up, but exactly what is still a mystery.

116 – Narrator comes home to find it empty of all Project Mayhem members.

117 – Narrator discovers evidence they were making soap in the basement.

117 – FLASHBACK: Tyler claims you can blow up “just about anything” with enough soap.

117 – Narrator goes down the calls on his hotel invoice. He correlates map points to the answered calls: Tyler’s operation is bigger than he could have ever possibly imagined.

_______________________________

Sequence II: Narrator tracks down Marla and gives her money to leave town.

118 – Narrator finds Marla pissed off from being roughed up by his men. He follows her into a restaurant and begs forgiveness, telling her to leave town because the city’s in danger.

Fight Club Beat Sheet Marla Singer

120 – Outside the restaurant, Narrator gives Marla money and puts her on a bus. Knowing full well he’s a danger to her, he refuses to look at the destination…

MARLA

(holds up the money)

I’m not paying this back. I consider it “asshole tax.”

NARRATOR

Yes, fine. Remember, stay out of major cities for at least a couple days, okay?

Narrator still has his back to her. Marla gets on the bus.

MARLA

Tyler...

Narrator looks to her.

MARLA

You’re the worst thing that ever happened to me.

_______________________________

Sequence III: Narrator goes to the police, but discovers the detectives interrogating him are in on Project Mayhem. Following his orders, they attempt to cut off his testicles, but Narrator manages to grab one of their guns and escape.

122 – POINT OF NO RETURN: Narrator goes to the police. He informs a room of detectives the details of Project Mayhem.

NARRATOR

I believe the plan is to blow up the headquarters of these credit card companies and the TRW Building.

DETECTIVE

Why these buildings? Why credit card companies?

NARRATOR

If you erase the debt record then we all go back to zero. It will create total chaos.

123 – The remaining detectives all reveal themselves to be members of Project Mayhem. They further state he instructed them to take his balls in the event he attempted to sabotage their effort. Manhandling him, they throw him on a table and pull off his pants. At the last moment, he manages to grab one of their guns and prevent his castration.

124 – Wearing only his boxers, shirt, and coat, Narrator escapes the police station.

_______________________________

Sequence IV: Narrator arrives at a targeted building and finds Tyler. Ignoring Tyler, Narrator makes his way into the parking garage and disarms one of the bombs. Tyler then gets physical and Narrator is forced to shoot him in the chest, but Tyler is unaffected, after all, he isn’t real. Tyler beats the hell out of Narrator and tosses him down a flight of stairs.

125 – Arriving outside a targeted building, Narrator’s confronted by Tyler, but still manages to make his way into the lobby and get into the parking garage below the building.

126 – In the parking garage, Narrator finds a van with explosives and a timer with only twenty-five minutes to go.

127 – Narrator works on disarming the bomb as Tyler tries to talk him out of it.

NARRATOR

I can’t let this happen.

TYLER

You know there are ten other bombs in ten other buildings?

NARRATOR

Goddammit, since when is Project Mayhem about murder?

TYLER

The buildings are empty. Security and maintenance -- all our people. We’re not killing anyone, man. We’re setting them free.

128 – Narrator disarms the bomb and Tyler kicks him out of the van. Narrator shoots Tyler in the chest, but Tyler’s unaffected. Tyler then knocks the gun out of Narrator’s hand and starts beating his ass.

129 – Security cameras show Narrator beating himself up.

130 – Tyler tosses Narrator down a flight of stairs, knocking him unconscious.

_______________________________

Sequence V: On the top floor of a skyscraper, Narrator realizes the power of Tyler is all in his mind. He then shoots himself in the mouth and kills Tyler. Project Mayhem members bring Marla up and Narrator, blood gushing from his jaw, demands they leave them alone. Narrator assures Marla everything’s fine, his only excuse being that she met him at “really strange time.” A romantic moment, they hold hands and watch the demolition of Project Mayhem’s target buildings unfold in front of them.

130 – On the upper floor of a high-rise, Narrator wakes to find himself tied to a chair with Tyler holding a gun in his mouth.

TYLER

Think of everything we’ve accomplished, man. Out these windows, we will view the collapse of financial history. One step closer to economic equilibrium.

131 – Tyler pushes Narrator to the window. Outside, Marla’s bus pulls up. Project Mayhem members have kidnapped her.

132 – Narrator begs Tyler to stop everything, but Tyler refuses.

133 – Narrator images Tyler’s gun in his hand and it appears. He then puts the gun under his chin.

Fight Club Beat Sheet Climax

134 – CLIMAX: Narrator shoots himself in the mouth and the bullet clears through his jawline. Smoke comes out Tyler’s mouth. He falls and reveals a giant gunshot wound to the back of his head. Tyler is dead.

135 – Project Mayhem members appear with Marla and everyone’s immediately concerned with Narrator’s wound. Still able to talk, he instructs them to leave.

Fight Club Beat Sheet Closing Image

136 – CLOSING IMAGES: Narrator assures Marla everything’s okay. They hold hands and watch all the financial buildings blow up.

MARLA

You shot yourself?

NARRATOR

Yes, but it’s okay. Marla, look at me. I’m really okay. Trust me. Everything’s gonna be fine.

MASSIVE EXPLOSION -- a building a quarter of a mile away. It’s destruction is completely visible from here. The glass walls RATTLE LOUDLY from the shock wave. They both stare out the window.

NARRATOR

You met me at a really strange time in my life.

Marla looks at Narrator, then looks back out the window.

They are SILHOUETTED against BRIGHT FLASHES as ANOTHER BUILDING EXPLODES and COLLAPSES. ANOTHER BUILDING EXPLODES. And ANOTHER BUILDING. And ANOTHER BUILDING.

137 – THE END.

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Comments

  1. Sevak says

    amazing the way you break down a script like this, I read the script last week, and was looking for something like this. nice blog, cool website. keep the good work!

    I’m going to check your website from now on. keep the updates coming!

    • says

      Thanks for the kind words, Sevak. These “beat sheets” (they’re really much more than that) are essential to my continuing education of the craft. After you complete one of these on your own, you really know the film. In a sense, the exercise is more important than getting it right. Do enough of these and they will be right for you: And that’s all that matters.

      • Sevak says

        Hey William,

        Thank for the reply and for the info as well, outstanding job you’ve done here.

        I was wondering if it’s possible to download this sheet as an PDF to keep it always with me and read it over and over again.

        please let me know if it is possible.

        thank you again.

        Sevak

        • says

          Hey Sevak,

          Just sign up for the Newsletter, located on the right sidebar. As soon as we get around to the next podcast, we’ll be offering links to the PDF only to those who are signed up.

          Thanks!

          • Sevak says

            I dont know how to thank you!

            much appreciated William! good job!!

            p.s just sign up for the newsletter

            cheers

            Sevak

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