Johnny Depp has done several remarkable roles in his career. While he is best known for playing Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, there were other notable films in his bag before that ship sailed in. One of these was Tim Burton’s 1990 film Edward Scissorhands. But did you know that Depp wasn’t the only actor considered for the part of the titular character?
The film grossed $86 million on a $20 million budget and was considered to be a box office hit. Over time, it became a cult classic thanks to Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp’s chemistry. But before all of that happened, actors like Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Cruise were also considered for the role.
Tom Cruise And Robert Downey Jr. Could Have Played Edward Scissorhands
Initially, 20th Century Fox was keen on casting Tom Cruise in the role because he was more famous than Johnny Depp. But the Top Gun star blew his chances because he asked a weird question that didn’t sit well with the creators. In an interview with Insider, Screenwriter Caroline Thompson said that Cruise asked director Tim Burton how the character went to the bathroom. She said:
“In his (Tom Cruise) interview with Tim, he asked how Edward went to the bathroom. If you start asking those questions, the whole thing falls apart. You can’t ask questions like that. If you ask questions like that, you’re f**ked. You’ve missed the metaphor, you’ve missed the point.”
However, Tim Burton wasn’t too set on Cruise. In the book Burton on Burton, the director explained, “He certainly wasn’t my ideal, but I talked to him. He was interesting, but I think that it worked out for the best. A lot of questions came up.” Apart from Cruise, Robert Downey Jr. was also considered and in fact, he was declared as Edward Scissorhands too.
Thompson said: “There was a party somewhere where Robert Downey was feted as Edward. I’m not sure why that happened.” But that didn’t ultimately pan out. Other well-known actors who were considered for the role were Michael Jackson and Gary Oldman. In the end, it was Johnny Depp who bagged the role. But even he was afraid of getting fired.
Johnny Depp Was Constantly Afraid Of Getting Fired From Edward Scissorhands
During an interview with Charlie Rose in 1999, Johnny Depp expressed that during the filming of Edward Scissorhands, he was constantly worried that he would get replaced by another actor. His fears stemmed from the fact that Burton didn’t rehearse him but he rehearsed everyone else. As for Depp, the director gave him a lot of creative liberties to explore his unique character in various ways. But that freedom made him afraid. As per the actor:
“Before we did Scissorhands, he rehearsed everyone. He didn’t rehearse me. He didn’t really know exactly what I was going to do when I walked onto the set. I spent the first two weeks of Ed Wood, and Scissorhands… thinking that I was going to be fired — that I was going to be replaced. Because I just thought, ‘There’s no way I can get away with this.’ But luckily, Tim was happy with the stuff, and I didn’t lose my job.”
As for how Depp got the role, it was because his then-girlfriend, Winona Ryder, who was the only choice for Tim Burton, pushed for him. Screenwriter Caroline Thompson said in an interview that she didn’t even know who Johnny Depp was. As per Thompson:
“Winona pushed for Johnny. I didn’t know who he was. I didn’t watch television, he was cut out of ‘Platoon.’ ‘Cry Baby’ was hard to get a beat on him with. He was a teen idol and seemed like a dopey kid. But I met him and he carried a gravitas and a sorrow and a whimsy. He really did turn out to be a fantastic choice.”
The film did work thanks to Depp’s unique way of playing the character as well as his chemistry with Winona Ryder. Till now, it’s regarded as a fantasy romance classic. However, both Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp have long moved on to other projects as well as other relationships.
Edward Scissorhands is available on Amazon Prime Video.