Johnny Depp Beat Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks for Edward Scissorhands Role

Johnny Depp Beat Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks for Edward Scissorhands Role

Johnny Depp’s journey to becoming Edward Scissorhands is a tale of overcoming self-doubt and fierce competition. In a recent interview for Tara Wood’s untitled documentary on Tim Burton, Depp revealed he beat out Hollywood heavyweights like Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, and even Michael Jackson for the iconic role.

Depp shared that Cruise was particularly close to landing the part. “He was not far away from actually playing Edward Scissorhands — true story,” Depp said. This revelation adds a new layer to the film’s history, showing just how competitive the casting process was.

The role of Edward Scissorhands, a gentle outcast with scissors for hands, was a significant departure from Depp’s previous work. At the time, he was best known for his role in the TV series “21 Jump Street,” which had typecast him as a teen idol. Depp felt “pigeonholed” and was eager to break free from that image. His role in John Waters’ 1990 film “Cry-Baby” was his first step in a new direction, allowing him to parody the very persona he was trying to escape.

Despite his desire to move away from his teen idol image, Depp almost didn’t audition for Edward Scissorhands. He recalled thinking, “He’s never going to cast me when everyone in Hollywood is after the part.” His agent, however, convinced him to go for it, saying, “Are you f***ing nuts?”

Depp’s initial reluctance stemmed from a deep-seated imposter syndrome. “There’s always that bastard in your skull that goes, ‘Come on, man. You’re a TV actor guy,’” he admitted. At the time, the divide between TV and film actors was more pronounced, making Depp’s transition to film even more daunting.

When Depp finally met with Burton, the connection was immediate. The script, written by Burton and Caroline Thompson, resonated deeply with him. “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,” Depp said.

This meeting marked the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration between Depp and Burton. Edward Scissorhands earned Depp his first Golden Globe nomination and solidified his status as a versatile actor. The duo went on to work together on several other projects, including “Ed Wood” (1994), “Sleepy Hollow” (1999), “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (2005), and “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (2007).

The untitled Tim Burton docuseries, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, delves into this pivotal moment in Depp’s career. It highlights the intense competition for the role and the emotional journey Depp underwent to secure it.

Depp’s story is a testament to the power of perseverance and the importance of taking risks. Despite the odds and his own self-doubt, he managed to secure a role that would define his career and establish a lasting partnership with one of Hollywood’s most visionary directors.

In the documentary, Burton also reflects on the casting process. He admitted that while Cruise was interesting, he ultimately felt that Depp was the right choice. “He was interesting, but I think it worked out for the best,” Burton said.

Other actors considered for the role included Gary Oldman, John Cusack, William Hurt, and Robert Downey Jr. The fact that Depp emerged victorious from such a star-studded lineup speaks volumes about his talent and the unique qualities he brought to the character.

Depp’s portrayal of Edward Scissorhands remains one of his most memorable performances. The character’s vulnerability and innocence struck a chord with audiences and critics alike, making the film a classic.

As Depp continues to reflect on his career, the role of Edward Scissorhands stands out as a turning point. It was a role that allowed him to break free from the constraints of his earlier work and explore new creative avenues. And it all began with a leap of faith, a meeting with Tim Burton, and a script that spoke to his very core.

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