VENICE MENACE

“The fight scenes were all choreographed, but I have to admit, I caught Edward [Norton] a few times,” said Brad Pitt, at the world premiere of “Fight Club” at the Venice Film Festival last Friday. “He took it valiantly.”
David Fincher, the film’s director, agreed.
“Everything was choreographed — it was all a Fred Astaire sort of thing — but we did have our share of gouged eyes and dislocated fingers.”
Fincher and the cast — Pitt, Norton, Helena Bonham Carter and Meat Loaf — had to defend themselves from jabs from the press about the violence and gore in the film. Based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk, the story is about frustrated urban, middle-class men who pummel one another in the basement of a bar in order to cut through the numbness of their everyday existence.
“The film was pure hyperbole, and it wasn’t about violence or beating someone up,” said Pitt. “It was about receiving a punch, about feeling, about connecting with other people. It’s a wake-up call to say that our society may be heading in the wrong direction. And our intention was also comedy.”
The judges clearly didn’t get it: “Fight Club” didn’t win any awards. The Golden Lion went to “Yi Ge Dou Bu Neng Shao” by the Chinese director Zhang Yimou.
Two nights later in Los Angeles, Pitt was on the red carpet again, this time as arm candy for “Friends” star Jennifer Aniston at the Emmys, where the ladies from TV land tried to prove that Oscar nominees don’t have a monopoly on big-night dressing.
“I’m doing the Catherine Zeta-Jones look!” exclaimed Tracey Ullman, about her short, red Chanel couture dress. “But I’ve got Julia Roberts’s armpits!”
Other attendees included Calista Flockhart, Helen Hunt, Halle Berry, Juliana Margulies, Lara Flynn Boyle, Christina Applegate, Julia Roberts, Keri Russell and Sarah Jessica Parker.