Johnny Depp Almost Didn’t Audition for ‘Edward Scissorhands’ After ’21 Jump Street’: I’m Just a ‘TV Actor Guy’

Johnny Depp almost walked away from even auditioning for “Edward Scissorhands” with Hollywood heavyweights Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, and even Michael Jackson vying for the lead role.

In the upcoming untitled Tim Burton docuseries, which debuted at Tribeca 2024, Depp says he felt “pigeonholed” as a teen star from his “21 Jump Street” fame, People magazine wrote. The television series ran from 1987 to 1990, and Depp admitted he “was probably doing my best for probably the last two years to get fired” from the show.

More from IndieWire

It wasn’t until Depp read Burton and Caroline Thompson’s script for “Edward Scissorhands” that he felt connect to a role.

Depp said the screenplay “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.”

Yet Depp still was hesitant to even audition, especially since he heard Cruise “was not far away from actually playing Edward Scissorhands — true story.”

Depp says he thought Burton was “never going to cast me when everyone in Hollywood is after the part,” so he asked his agent to cancel the meeting.

“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,'” Depp recalled. “She said, ‘Are you f—ing nuts?’”

Depp added, “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.”

Of course, the rest is Hollywood history. Depp played the titular role for “Edward Scissorhands” that was released in 1990, just as his turn on “21 Jump Street” wrapped up airing. Burton and Depp continued to collaborate for decades: Depp starred in “Ed Wood,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and more Burton films.

Best of IndieWire

Sign up for Indiewire's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.