Tim Burton and Johnny Depp represent one of the most prolific, iconic, and creative duos in Hollywood and today, we wanted to take a look back at the film that started this beautiful partnership. Here are 10 facts you probably didn’t know about Edward Scissorhands.
1. Johnny Depp wasn’t the first choice
It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing Edward, but several other actors were considered for the titular role. Tom Hanks and Gary Oldman both turned down the part and William Hurt, Robert Downey Jr., and Jim Carrey were all considered for the role. Fox insisted that Burton meet with Tom Cruise. “He certainly wasn’t my ideal, but I talked to him,” Burton recalled, “He was interesting, but I think it worked out for the best. A lot of questions came up.” In particular, Cruise wanted a “happier” ending. Michael Jackson also lobbied for the part, but Burton reportedly wouldn’t return his calls.
2. But Depp was the perfect choice
By 1990, Depp had established himself as a teen idol thanks to his performance in 21 Jump Street, but he wanted to expand his image. Burton told Games Radar, “He was looked upon then as a handsome leading man, yet I don’t think he felt that way. That’s why he wanted to do Edward Scissorhands: he understood that thing of being perceived as one thing and being something else.”
3. Johnny Depp nearly worked himself to death
Depp said that he cried like a baby when he first read the script for Edward Scissorhands, “I can remember reading the script and—it’s embarrassing—weeping. I cried, it was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever read in my life.”
Depp became passionate about the movie and lost more than twenty-five pounds for the role. In order to play the character as authentically as possible, Depp refused to use any cooling agent in his all-leather costume and later suffered heat exhaustion and collapsed while filming.
4. Edward only says 169 words in the whole movie
In order to prepare for the role, Depp watched Charlie Chaplin films and studied the idea of creating sympathy without using dialogue. Burton praised Depp’s silent portrayal saying, “He’s got those kind of eyes that can say things without speaking.”
5. The movie was based on Tim Burton’s childhood
The idea for Edward Scissorhands came from one of Tim Burton’s childhood drawings. The drawing represented the isolation that Burton felt growing up in Burbank, California. As a kid, Burton often had trouble making friends, “I get the feeling people just got this urge to want to leave me alone for some reason, I don’t know exactly why.” Although Burton has admitted that Edward Scissorhands isn’t his greatest film, he has said that it’s his favorite movie, calling it his most personal work.
6. The character was inspired by The Cure and a dog
Edward’s hair is based on the haircut of The Cure frontman Robert Smith. Burton even asked Smith to do the soundtrack for the film, but he passed on the opportunity because he didn’t know who Tim Burton was. Edward’s personality is also partially based on the dog of screenwriter Caroline Thompson.
7. It was originally meant to be a musical
Burton originally planned for Edward Scissorhands to be a musical claiming “it seemed big and operatic to me,” but later scrapped the idea. Burton would revisit the idea of a dark musical with both The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Corpse Bride.
8. The neighborhood in the movie is a real place
In order fulfill his vision of a bright yet disturbing suburbia, Burton and his team took over a real Florida town. The houses in the film were left completely untouched except for the paint. According to production designer Bo Welch, the houses were painted one of four colors which he described as “sea-foam green, dirty flesh, butter, and dirty blue.”
The restaurant that the family eats at was a part of a national chain diner called “Sambo’s” and when Edward gets his hands sharpened, he visits a real hardware store called Crowder Brothers located in the Southgate Shopping Center.
Even the topiary that Edward cuts are real and some of the pieces are permanently on display at the restaurant Tavern On the Green in New York City. Unfortunately, the topiary are made from welded steel frames, not real plants.
9. Nick Carter makes a cameo
Backstreet’s back, alright. When Nick Carter was just ten, he made an uncredited appearance as the little blonde boy on the slip and slide boy at the beginning of the film
10. There’s a porn parody called “Edward Penishands”
In an interview with Conan O’Brien, Burton said he knew he had made it as a director when someone made a porn parody of Edward Scissorhands called Edward Penishands. Although, Burton did have one problem with the porn version, “I was excited. I thought there was going to be five penises on the hand, but it was only one on each.”
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