Pretend it’s 1999 and you’re still under the impression that Fight Club is a simple film about two dudes convincing many other dudes to beat the hell out of each other while also running a lucrative underground soap business. Now, prepare to have your mind blown — are you ready for this — by the revelation that Brad Pitt‘s character (You know, the one on the poster hanging in your dorm room that says “Mischief, Mayhem, Soap” that you’re going to use as an example for every girl you bring back there as to how much you like, appreciate film. It’s right next to your Pulp Fiction poster.) was just a figment of Edward Norton‘s imagination the entire time.
Filmmaker Richard Trammell has bottled that little experience and taken it a few notches further with Fight Club minus Tyler Durden, an ingeniously edited scene from the film that lifts Pitt from the equation altogether and leaves Norton standing by his lonesome, talking and fighting with himself. Removing Tyler Durden from Fight Club, especially in the scene where the two fight each other, is both comical and sad to behold. Funny, because Norton’s ducking punches and talking to himself; sad, because all it probably took was blocking Durden out with our finger on the screen to realize what was actually going on in this movie. It’s a fascinating look at Fight Club, especially when you realize it’s the perspective of everyone who hung out with The Narrator throughout the course of the film. Raise your standards, Marla.
Seeing the edits of course raises the question of what other films would be prime for removing a character or two for the purpose of exposing another character’s maybe bizarre mind (and for our viewing pleasure). Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen movies in the last 30 years.
While we’re on Fight Club, it would be remiss not to go conspiracy theory and remove the Ferris from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. As the completely unfounded theory goes, the entire plot of Ferris Bueller, and Ferris himself, are made up by a sick Cameron lying in bed all day bored while home from school. He’s tired of being bored and meek, so he makes up a cool and confidant stand-in best friend who does the living for him. Remove the Ferris from Ferris Bueller and potentially get some fairly sad scenes where Cameron’s just talking to himself.
The Sixth Sense would have been a lot easier to spot if little Haley Joel Osment was just talking to himself instead of dead Bruce Willis. Granted, this one’s still kind of his mom’s fault for taking him to probably the only dead child psychologist around, but showing the kid bursting into tears and talking to thin air instead of his ghostly companion might convey to the audience exactly how upsetting of a situation he’s in.
A Beautiful Mind, by taking out John Nash’s old roommate and niece, shows from the very beginning that he’s schizophrenic and suffering from hallucinatory visions. Without their presence, Nash is just paranoid and imaginative — and needs an intervention.
And of course, there’s Secret Window, the movie that decided that plagiarism could drive a man to murder. Without John Turturro‘s constant drawling “youuuu stole my story” (subtle) to show up and haunt Johnny Depp‘s frazzled novelist, the film would just be the novelist, alone in the woods with his thoughts, unraveling. There’s not much fun in that, but it would be interesting to see him actually writing/coming up with the truly genius, in blood “Shooter…Shoot…Her” on his wall.
Which films do you think should remove a character?