20 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Edward Scissorhands
We’re not going to lie, Edward Scissorhands makes us cry every single time we watch it. And whilst part of the reason for that may be personal, we charge anyone not to be at least slightly emotionally affected by Tim Burton’s fairytale masterpiece.
Whilst the movie may be far fetched and whimsical in many ways, the themes bubbling underneath the surface are real, tapping into issues in our lives that we don’t even know we’re suffering from.
Edward Scissorhands also has an interesting story behind the making of it, so we thought it was about time we delved deeper into this classic 90s flick, with the following 20 things that you probably didn’t know about the film.
20. Winona Ryder disliked playing Kim because she reminded Ryder of her own school bullies
Despite the fact that the movie is named Edward Scissorhands, the character that talks the most and is probably the most relatable to an audience is Kim.
Winona Ryder does a great job of making the all-American cheerleader both sympathetic and likeable, but it wasn’t an easy job for the actress.
From the first moment she arrived on set in a blonde wig, Ryder had a difficult time empathising with the bubbly, popular girl she was playing.
The reason was that Ryder felt as though the character of Kim was the exact type of person that bullied her in high school, and that she was far more like the outcast of Edward than the sunshine-y love interest.
With that said, Ryder got to play her fair share of dark characters across her career – including in Beetlejuice, another Burton project.
Let’s also not forget Heathers, in which Ryder plays both a bullied high schooler and a vengeful retributor. Two birds, one stone!
19. Depp was asked to play Edward like a dog
Johnny Depp is famous for being able to transform himself into any character and embody them perfectly, no matter how surreal or extraordinary.
With that said, he truly struggled to personify and understand Edward Scissorhands properly, despite how few lines he actually had to deliver.
Depp spoke frequently to writer Caroline Thompson to express that he just couldn’t understand what Edward wanted, or how he related to the world around him.
Depp only finally understood when Thompson told him one simple thing: that Edward Scissorhands is inspired by a dog.
As weird as it sounds, writer Thompson wanted Edward Scissorhands to have the eager to please but slightly bemused energy of a puppy, which Depp immediately tapped into.
18. The Cure inspired the movie in two different ways
It’s an established pop culture myth that Edward Scissorhands was inspired by Robert Smith, the lead singer of British post-punk band The Cure.
We’ve already established that Edward Scissorhands was based on a drawing Burton himself did, but it is true that the make-up and costume department took inspiration from Smith’s signature coif.
More than that, Tim Burton resonated with the desolate, modern gothic aesthetic of The Cure so much, that he asked them to do the entire soundtrack.
Unfortunately, The Cure were busy recording Disintegration at the time, which would turn out to be one of their most critically acclaimed albums, so the band turned down the opportunity.
Tim Burton’s long-time collaborator Danny Elfman stepped in instead, but still tried to capture that ultra-contemporary vibe in the soundtrack.
17. The funniest scene wasn’t originally in the movie
Edward Scissorhands is a whimsical movie from top to bottom, but there is one scene that stands out as far as comedy is concerned.
When Edward Scissorhands is first shown around the house, it becomes very clear that he has to navigate a water bed.
Hijinks quickly ensue, as Edward stares perplexedly around while trying to stop the water from exploding out of the bed, but the hilarious sequence actually appeared nowhere in the script.
Instead, Tim Burton saw the water bed that had been added by the set dressers, and immediately thought to himself “oh, that would be hilarious”.
Burton’s instincts proved to be correct, as the scene ended up being emblematic of the comedic but slightly uncomfortable tone of the whole movie.
16. The movie nearly didn’t get made
Edward Scissorhands is a classic now, but it’s not hard to see why it would be a difficult pitch.
As well as not being based on any previous property, and not fitting neatly into any particular genre, the film also has a hugely unorthodox plot and concept.
Unsurprisingly, this meant there was some doubt about whether the movie would ever get made, or if it would simply sit in development hell for an extended amount of time.
The script treatment could have been left to gather dust, if it wasn’t for Dianne Wiest’s enthusiasm in signing onto the project, which encouraged others to follow suit.
Why did Wiest have so much pull? Probably because she was already an Academy Award winner at the time, and had starred in other movies with a similar tone, such as The Lost Boys.
15. Depp only reprised his role once – on Family Guy
Johnny Depp has returned to the same characters multiple times over the course of his career, playing both Captain Jack Sparrow and Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter multiple times.
Edward Scissorhands is a standalone movie, but Depp did reprise the role exactly once, voicing the character on an episode of Family Guy.
In the episode Lois Comes Out of Her Shell, Edward Scissorhands is a repeated gag, with the scissor-handed oddball acting as a babysitter.
Though he’s initially presented as the safest and best possible candidate for the job, it quickly becomes apparent that Edward is not handling it as well as he should be.
The short cameo is some of Depp’s only voice work, and continue’s Family Guy’s tradition of random crossovers from both fiction and the real world.
14. Vincent Price stars because he was Tim Burton’s idol
One of the best parts of being a director is that you have a lot of power when it comes to getting other people involved in your project.
There’s a lot of opportunity to work with your heroes, for example – which is exactly what Tim Burton did on Edward Scissorhands.
When casting The Inventor who lives in the castle with Edward Scissorhands, there was no other choice for Burton but Vincent Price.
Burton grew up watching Price in movies like House of Wax, The Last Man on Earth and The Masque of the Red Death, making casting him in a homage to classic horror cinema a no-brainer.
Unfortunately, Price’s health complications meant his role as Edward’s creator was significantly cut down, but he still brought serious gravitas to the character.
13. The studio kept Edward’s appearance a secret in marketing because they didn’t want to harm Depp’s heartthrob image
Edward Scissorhands was a risky movie to make, not just because of its unusual plot and non-traditional hero, but also because of the appearance of Edward himself.
The studio was actually so nervous about the cuts on Edward’s face and his pallid appearance that they kept his look a secret up until the last possible moment in terms of marketing.
It might seem strange now, given Depp’s predilection for playing unique-looking characters with pale make-up and dark eyes, but the studio was specifically worried about revealing that they’d changed his signature look.
This is mostly because, at the time, Depp was famous for being a heartthrob, whose stint on 21 Jump Street relied on his good looks and charm.
Depp was desperate to break out of the handsome boy stereotype, which is what led him to pursue odder and odder roles as the years went on.
12. Burton and Edward Scissorhands writer Caroline Thompson got together because Hollywood didn’t know what to do with them
Edward Scissorhands was directed by Tim Burton and written by Caroline Thompson, both artists who were considered to be somewhat unusual by Hollywood standards.
The two were represented by the same agency at the time, but were struggling to find projects to work on, since no one was sure quite what to do with them.
As a solution, the agency put the two outsiders together and asked them to collaborate on a project.
Burton and Thompson got together to talk over their ideas, and when Thompson saw an image of Edward that Burton had drawn, she said she knew exactly what his story was.
The two went on long walks together to develop their joint project, and realised that their aesthetics and outlooks worked incredibly well together.
11. The film’s neighbourhood isn’t a set
The candy-coloured suburbia in Edward Scissorhands might seem too surreal to be true, but it’s actually an entirely real neighbourhood, located in a place called Carpenters Circle, in Lutz, Florida.
The perfectly symmetrical houses and winding drives all existed before Burton showed up to shoot, though the houses were all painted more pedestrian colours.
The production sought permission to change up the exteriors to make them more colourful, and they did eventually get everyone’s begrudging consent.
Despite their resistance at first though, many of the neighbourhood’s inhabitants decided to keep their houses bright pastel after shooting had finished.
Residents now see the neighbourhood as a point of pride, since many people come to take selfies on the streets where Edward Scissorhands once walked.
10. The film was inspired by Tim Burton’s own childhood
It may sound strange that the fairytale wonder contained within Edward Scissorhands was based on real life, but that is indeed the case.
Tim Burton, who directed the movie as well as co-producing it, based the story on his childhood living in suburban Burbank, California.
Burton wanted to capture the surrealism of suburbia, with all its unwritten rules, strangle little rituals and symmetrical scenery.
In the film, Edward Scissorhands sees the neighbourhood as completely over the top and alien, which is what it felt like for Tim Burton growing up, feeling like an outsider in his own home.
Edward was even based on a drawing that Burton made as a teenager, showing a thin man with long blades for fingers, reflecting his feelings of isolation, as well as his inability to communicate with those around him.
9. The film was inspired by classic Universal horror movies
As well as being inspired by a number of fairytales, Edward Scissorhands also takes inspiration from various horror movies, especially those created by studio Universal.
Frankenstein, The Phantom of the Opera, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Creature from the Black Lagoon are all said to have given Burton ideas for his own gothic masterpiece.
Burton has often used classic horror properties as inspiration for his own doodles and drawings – such as the story of Frankenweenie, a dog brought back to life by a mad scientist.
Edward Scissorhands blended elements from a bunch of different horror icons, combining Frankenstein’s spaced-out silence with the isolationist tendencies of the Phantom of the Opera.
This also explains why Burton was so excited about Vincent Price joining the project, since he’s a horror icon in his own right.
8. It was originally going to be a musical
Burton’s original idea was for Edward Scissorhands to be a musical, with the director once commenting that “it seemed big and operatic to me.”
Burton eventually scrapped that idea, however – although we don’t know about you, but we would have loved to have seen that version of the movie!
With that said, in 1990, renowned choreographer Matthew Bourne was given the opportunity to create a full-length dance show based on the movie.
The show is told entirely through music and dance, with no spoken dialogue or exposition through music.
It was kind of the precursor to Beetlejuice, another Tim Burton movie that was itself eventually adapted into a Tony Award-nominated musical.
7. It could have starred Tom Cruise instead of Depp
Whilst we’re sure you can’t imagine anyone else but Johnny Depp playing Edward, even though he was always Tim Burton’s first choice, a number of different actors were also considered for the part.
20th Century Fox’s preferred choice was said to be Tom Cruise, but a meeting between Cruise and Burton was not successful.
Tom Hanks and Gary Oldman were also offered the part, but both turned it down, while Jim Carrey and Robert Downey Jr were also considered, as was the late King of Pop Michael Jackson.
Tom Cruise was riding high on the success of Rain Man at the time of casting, which is probably why the studio was so enthusiastic to get him on board.
However, according to Tim Burton, Cruise had a lot of questions about the character, but ultimately didn’t seem very sure about his ability to play the part.
6. The script made Johnny Depp cry like a baby
Johnny Depp has revealed that the first time he read the Edward Scissorhands script, he “wept like a newborn.”
Depp was at the time wanting to move away from his status as a teen idol, and knew after connecting emotionally to the movie’s story that this was the right project for him.
It famously began the streak of collaborations between Depp and Burton, who later became firm friends, even going on to attend each other’s weddings.
Later in their relationship, Depp even agreed to be the godfather to Billy Ray, Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter’s child.
In their first meeting, Depp and Burton allegedly talked for hours about growing up in similar suburban environments, and feeling isolated despite the community surrounding them.
5. Depp watched Charlie Chaplin movies in preparation for playing a character with hardly any dialogue
It may seem strange to hear that watching Charlie Chaplin movies helped Johnny Depp prepare for his role as Edward – but the more you think about it, the more it makes sense.
Depp was keen to tap into Chaplin’s skill of ‘creating sympathy without dialogue’, and we’re sure you’ll agree that he absolutely nailed it.
Most of the emoting Depp does in Edward Scissorhands is with the movement of his eyes, since he has the same perplexed expression on his face for the majority of the movie.
Not only that, but the titular scissor-hands prevent Depp from gesturing much, so his physicality is pretty limited also.
That’s already a challenge for an actor tasked with bringing a character to life, but Edward Scissorhands also has very little dialogue, saying just 160 words across the entire movie.
4. Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder began a romance on-set
Edward Scissorhands was the movie that brought together two of Hollywood’s most beautiful people, they of course being Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder.
But despite being one of the best-looking couples in the history of planet earth, unfortunately, the romance didn’t last, forcing Depp to have his ‘Winona Forever’ tattoo altered to instead read ‘Wino Forever’.
Ryder said in interviews later that Depp swept her off her feet, since she was pretty sheltered and unaware of his rock star lifestyle when she first entered showbusiness.
Depp wasn’t only Ryder’s first kiss, but her first proper boyfriend, and the relationship apparently blossomed right on set.
Allegedly, the two were desperate to get married, but advised not to given how young Ryder was. The pair ultimately broke up in 1993, four years after their romance began.
3. Both Tim Burton and Danny Elfman consider it their finest work
Both Tim Burton and Edward Scissorhands composer Danny Elfman consider the movie to be their favourite and most personal work.
Edward Scissorhands was the fourth of an unbelievable 16 collaborations between Burton and Elfman, and it was the first of nine collaborations between Burton and Depp.
Despite all the collaborations, Edward Scissorhands was the project they felt most passionate about, because both were able to give it their full attention and work seamlessly together.
On other titles, such as The Nightmare Before Christmas, Elfman and Burton disagreed significantly about the artistic direction the film and soundtrack should go in, which caused a fair amount of friction.
Not only that, but during production on The Nightmare Before Christmas, Burton was constantly missing due to his directorial commitments on Batman. This resulted in the two only rarely seeing each other.
2. A Backstreet Boy appears in the movie
Have you ever spotted one of the Backstreet Boys playing a small role in Edward Scissorhands? Trust us, there’s one in there!
That would be Nick Carter, who was not credited for his brief role as the blonde boy playing on the Slip ‘N Slide as Edward rides in Peg’s car through the suburban neighbourhood.
Burton needed actors and extras who wouldn’t look out of place in the idyllic, but almost too good to be true setting of the neighbourhood.
The former Backstreet Boy, with his bottle-blonde hair, pop star smile and physique, was the poster boy for innocent suburban life.
With that said, it’s unclear why he was cast in the movie, since the biggest probability is just that he was around that day.
1. The film led to an extinct sea creature being named after Depp
Believe it or not, an extinct sea creature was named after Johnny Depp simply because of his role as Edward.
The sea creature was named Kootenichela deppi, because it has scissor-like claws that are slightly similar to Edward’s Scissorhands.
David Legg, the first person to find and categorise the species, explained his choice to name the animal after Depp.
“Even the genus name, Kootenichela, includes the reference to this film as ‘chela’ is Latin for claws or scissors. In truth, I am also a bit of a Depp fan and so what better way to honour the man than to immortalise him as an ancient creature that once roamed the sea?”
Despite the weirdness of having a fossilised creature named after a Tim Burton character, Depp is not the only celebrity to have been given the honour.
New species of animal have also been named after Stephen Colbert, as well as Liv Tyler and Kate Winslet.