Editor Joe Walker on ‘Widows’, Changing the Structure of ‘12 Years a Slave’, and ‘Blade Runner 2049’

     September 25, 2018

One of the many fantastic films to world premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was Widows. Directed by Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave,Shame) and co-written by McQueen and Gillian Flynn, the film is about four women that must execute a heist in order to pay off the debt their deceased husbands incurred. Furthermore, the women have to pull off the heist while both the law and criminals are bearing down around them. Loaded with fantastic performances, Sean Bobbitt’s great cinematography, an exciting score by Hans Zimmer, and a script full of complex characters, Widows is one of those special movies where everything just works. Trust me, you want to see this movie when it opens in theaters November 16th. Widows stars Viola DavisMichelle Rodriguez,Elizabeth DebickiCynthia ErivoColin FarrellBrian Tyree HenryDaniel KaluuyaGarret DillahuntCarrie CoonJacki WeaverJon BernthalManuel Garcia-RulfoRobert Duvall and Liam Neeson.

widows-posterShortly after seeing the film, I got to sit down with editor Joe Walker at the Collider studio at TIFF to talk about the film. During the wide-ranging interview he talked about how he first started working with Steve McQueen, why McQueen hates the word “coverage”, his relationship with directors of photography, how the first cut of Widows compared to the finished film, what they learned from early screenings, and more. In addition, Walker also talked about completely changing the structure of 12 Years a Slave in the editing room, Michael Mann’s Blackhat, working with Denis Villeneuve on Sicario, Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, and what he knows about Villeneuve’s Dune.

Check out what he had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about.

Joe Walker:

  • How he first met Steve McQueen.
  • What would surprise people to learn about the making of Steve McQueen’s movies.
  • Why Steve McQueen hates the word “coverage”.
  • His relationship with directors of photography.
  • The interesting, cool editing at the beginning of Widows.
  • How much the four Steve McQueen movies he worked on shifted in the editing process.
  • How the first cut of Widows compared to the finished film.
  • How early screenings of Widows impacted the finished product.
  • widows-movie-image

    Image via 20th Century Fox

    Whether he was involved in the extended cut of Blackhat.

  • Editing Blade Runner 2049 with Denis Villeneuve right after working on Arrival.
  • The challenge of cutting out beautiful imagery from Blade Runner 2049, and the scene he was most sad to see go.
  • How much Arrival changed in the editing room, and what it took to assemble that plot
  • Coming to Canada for the first time to work on Sicario, and the experience of crafting that film.
  • What he knows about Denis Villeneuve’s Dune.

Finally, big thanks to the partners who made our TIFF interviews possible:

Aurora, Presenting Partner, one of Canada’s largest federally licensed cannabis companies and an official partner of the Toronto International Film Festival. Aurora’s involvement is anchored by its passion for the arts and commitment to providing financial support for the creative community.

Diageo Canada joins as the official spirit sponsor and will be showcasing cocktails featuring brands from their luxury portfolio including Ciroc Vodka,Tanqueray™ No. TEN Gin, Johnnie Walker Black Label and Bulleit Bourbon.


Image via 20th Century Fox

Toasting the evening’s festivities will be La Marca Prosecco, an elegant, luxurious sparkling wine. The premium wines of California’s Ghost Pines Winery will also be served!

Dutch beer brand Grolsch, the official beer sponsor of the Toronto Film Festival recognizable by its iconic swingtop bottle, will tap into the House of Aurora to extend its VIP footprint at the Festival. Grolsch has long been a champion of creativity and independent thinking.

Frank Rea Event Designs Toronto’s top event florist and ambient designer Frank Rea creatively lends his support with décor statements and floral designs through Forget Me Not Flowers & Frank Rea Event Designs.

The Collider Studio at the House of Aurora was produced by A-list Communications and The Substance Group.

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