Clocking in at just over two hours, Joker is a slow burn which focuses on Joaquin Phoenix's performance of a character spiraling into madness, picking up the pace as it goes. However, the film was originally cut to be quite a bit longer -- leaving about a fifth of the run time on the cutting room floor before finalizing the theatrical version of the movie.
ComicBook.com attended an advanced screening of Joker, where director Todd Phillips popped in for a Q&A about the movie he crafted to leave audiences "unable to speak." As it turns out, the first cut of the film had quite a bit more length. "The first cut of the movie was 2 hours and 35 minutes," Phillips said. "And, right now, it's 2 hours and 2 minutes I think, with credits."
Whether or not any of those deleted scenes will ever make their way out is unknown. It's no surprise the first cut of the film was longer as the editors were then primed to tighten up the movie and leave any unnecessary bits aside. "There are so many cuts," Phillips says.
"I find it difficult to talk immediately after, a lot of films, this film in particular for me," Phillips said. "I found that as we've shown it to people, even when I just bring somebody to the editing room and show it to a friend, a film maker friend, whoever. And then you go, and it's over, and then, they need time, a little bit, to sort of process it honestly in a way." He accomplishes his mission, as the minutes, hours, days, and weeks that followed for those that watched Joker ahead of its release has left them forming new opinions and thoughts about it.
Throughout the production of Joker and developing the footage for those different cuts, Phillips and lead actor Joaquin Phoenix seem to have had quite a bit of fun.
"I saw somebody in the elevator, and they were like 'Wow, that was really f---ing intense' I was like 'Oh, we laughed like everyday,'" Phoenix said. "There was nothing really to laugh at, like 'Oh, we kind of are f---ed up! We literally were laughing. Everyday going, 'This is ridiculous! This guy is f---ing...' Yeah, I love those stories of actors, I kind of do wish that I was that way because it sounds so cool, but I didn't have that experience."
Joker hits theaters on October 4.