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Johnny Depp Beat Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise for ‘Edward Scissorhands’ Role

Johnny Depp Beat Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise for ‘Edward Scissorhands’ Role

Johnny Depp Beat Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise for ‘Edward Scissorhands’ Role

Johnny Depp has revealed which A-listers he beat out for his big screen breakout role in Tim Burton‘s Edward Scissorhands.

During an interview in Tara Wood’s still-untitled Burton docuseries, which premiered at the 2024 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on Monday, the actor looked back at the 1990 film that ignited a years-long screen collaboration between Depp and the filmmaker.

Depp recalled some of the biggest Hollywood names at the time, including Tom Hanks, Michael Jackson and Tom Cruise, wanting to play the movie’s scissor-handed hero. He even said the latter “was not far away from actually playing Edward Scissorhands — true story.”

The Pirates of the Caribbean actor said when he first read the Edward Scissorhands script from Burton and screenwriter Caroline Thompson, it “passed through everything, anything, solid and went to the very core of whatever I am. The writing was beautiful. The character was beautiful. What I suppose [attracted] me emotionally was that Edward was me. It’s exactly what I should be doing.” 

However, Depp admitted he felt like he was becoming “pigeonholed” as a teen star at the time with his role in 21 Jump Street from 1987 to 1990. And he saw John Waters’ 1990 film Cry-Baby as “the first solid step in the direction” for him.

“In all honesty, I was probably doing my best for probably the last two years to get fired,” he said of 21 Jump Street. “I knew how important the choice to make Cry-Baby with John Waters was, which gave me the opportunity to make fun of this arena I’d been placed in.”

As Depp continued to move in the direction he had dreamt about, his agent finally booked him a meeting with Burton for Edward Scissorhands. But it led to a moment of self-sabotage upon learning about all the A-list stars also fighting for the role of Edward.

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“He’s never going to cast me when everyone in Hollywood is after the part,” Depp recalled thinking. “Tim’s really juggling because he’s getting hit by his agent, the studio, everybody. So I called my agent after reading the script and said, ‘Please cancel the meeting, I’m not going.’ She said, ‘Are you fucking nuts?’”

He continued, “It was weird because there’s always that bastard in your skull that goes ‘Come on, man. You’re a TV actor guy.’ Because at that time it was almost either-or.”

But Depp “finally gave in,” ultimately leading him to become one of Burton’s onscreen muses for years to come. The duo collaborated on numerous projects, including 1994’s Ed Wood, 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and 2010’s Alice in Wonderland.

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