Johnny Depp’s Journey to Edward Scissorhands: Beating Hollywood Icons for a Breakthrough Role

Tribeca Film Festival Highlights Depp’s Revelations on Burton Collaboration

Johnny Depp recently opened up about the fierce competition he faced for his iconic role in Tim Burton’s *Edward Scissorhands*. In a candid interview featured in Tara Wood’s yet-untitled Burton docuseries, which premiered at the 2024 Tribeca Film Festival, Depp reflected on the 1990 film that marked the beginning of his long-term collaboration with Burton.

Depp shared that some of Hollywood’s biggest names were vying for the part of Edward, including Tom Hanks, Michael Jackson, and Tom Cruise. He revealed that Cruise was particularly close to securing the role, stating, “He was not far away from actually playing Edward Scissorhands — true story.”

Reflecting on his first encounter with the script by Burton and screenwriter Caroline Thompson, Depp described an immediate and profound connection. “The writing was beautiful. The character was beautiful. It passed through everything and went to the very core of whatever I am. Edward was me. It’s exactly what I should be doing,” he explained.

At the time, Depp was eager to break away from his teen idol image forged through his role in *21 Jump Street* (1987-1990). He saw his role in John Waters’ 1990 film *Cry-Baby* as a pivotal move. “In all honesty, I was probably doing my best for the last two years to get fired from *21 Jump Street*,” he admitted. “I knew how important the choice to make *Cry-Baby* was, as it allowed me to mock the very arena I was placed in.”

As Depp pursued his desired career path, his agent secured him a meeting with Burton for *Edward Scissorhands*. However, learning about the high-profile competition led to a moment of doubt. “He’s never going to cast me when everyone in Hollywood is after the part,” Depp thought. “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?’”

Despite his initial hesitation, Depp ultimately attended the meeting. This decision proved pivotal, leading to his role as one of Burton’s key collaborators. Together, they worked on several acclaimed projects, including *Ed Wood* (1994), *Charlie and the Chocolate Factory* (2005), and *Alice in Wonderland* (2010).

Depp’s portrayal of Edward Scissorhands not only established his career but also began a fruitful creative partnership with Burton that has spanned decades.

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