Director Christopher Nolan has said numerous times that he won't alter a frame of the late actor's performance because it's what he would have wanted.
However, rumors have surfaced suggesting that might not be the case.
Supposedly, Warner Brothers recently conducted test-screenings of The Dark Knight, and a certain sequence was met with negative reactions from the audience.
Spoilers ahead, ladies and gentlemen!
According to Cinema Blend:
The scene involves Ledger’s Joker character pretending to be dead and being pictured in a body bag. Apparently the aftershocks of Ledger’s unfortunate death are such that many in the screening reacted rather badly to this moment and now execs are considering excising the scene altogether.
*Sniffs* I smell BS! And thankfully, I'm not the only one.
Our Aussie buddy Clint Morris over at Movie Hole rebutted said rumors stating:
A source close to the “The Dark Knight” told us this morning that the film remains in-tact - and nothing of Ledger’s will be cut from the movie, including the body-bag scene. ‘’I KNOW for a fact that that scene is in the film. I also know that WB has made no such mandate and that Chris [Nolan] is honest when saying that he will not change what was intended with The Joker.”
Oh, but it doesn't end there, boys and girls.
My buddy Jett (i.e. the big cheese at Batman-On-Film News) heard from his own source questioning the rumor even further:
“I can definitely say that no screening has happened or will happen for a while. The film isn't close to being finished and they aren't doing any ‘work-in-progress screenings.‘ Chris has graduated beyond that point of trust with the studio. Any test screenings that happen before the release date will be of the COMPLETED, final film only.”
God knows there's already enough sensitivity regarding this film after the tragic death of Ledger. But Nolan and Warner Brothers have been beyond classy regarding how to handle all of this.
They're doing the right thing here, folks.
One more thing; I have a problem with the title of the Cinema Blend article that started all this.
"Joker Scenes Cut From The Dark Knight?"
Talk about deliberately misleading people...