‘Joker’ editor explains Gary Glitter song choice for now-iconic steps scene

"What we're dealing with at that point is not exactly a good guy"

The editor of superhero origin story Joker has explained why 1982 Gary Glitter track ‘Rock and Roll Part 2’ was used during the film.

In 2015, glam-rock singer Glitter was sentenced to 16 years in jail for historic child sex offences. The decision to use one of his songs during a scene in Joker has caused controversy in the media, with some arguing the disgraced musician should not be given a platform.

Now Jeff Groth, who worked with director Todd Phillips to edit the film, has revealed to NME that the song was chosen for reasons relating to its protagonist, Arthur Fleck (played by Joaquin Phoenix), and the character’s mindset at that point in the film.


“Ultimately, what we’re dealing with at that point is not exactly a good guy,” said Groth. “It’s time-appropriate and kind of the music in his head, as much as anything.”

Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck (aka Joker). Credit: Nico Tavernise

Asked if the choice of song is to show that Arthur has now become the titular villain and has completed his descent into madness, Groth said: “Yeah. I would say that we weren’t necessarily trying to hit it on the head, but it’s definitely the sort of thing that he might have listened to at that point.“

Later, Groth confirmed that ‘Rock and Roll Part 2’ wasn’t the only track that they considered using during the scene, although they never seriously thought about swapping it out.

“‘[Rock and Roll Part 2’] was in the script. We played around with some others just to see if there was anything better, in the spirit of experimentation, but we definitely never found anything better,” said Groth.

Joaquin Phoenix in ‘Joker’. Credit: Warner Bros


“It was always that way and he actually did the dance to that song. The choreography is actually done to that song – and then putting it together was a whole other thing.”

He added: “I don’t remember [which songs they tried] but it was one of those things where the music supervisor [Randall Poster] sends over 10 options and we drop them all in and go, ‘No, no, no.’ You do a quick rejig, take a look at it and go, ‘No, that’s not the one’. It took us maybe less than a day before we realised what way we wanted to go.”

‘Joker’ will be available on 4K, Blu-ray, Limited Edition Amazon Exclusive 4K & Blu-ray Steel Book, Limited Edition tradewide 4K & Blu-ray Steel Book, and DVD on February 10. Get it on Digital Download now