Johnny Depp reveals which actors almost played Edward Scissorhands

Johnny Depp has named the actors he beat to one of his most famous roles.

The Pirates of the Caribbean actor, who has been embroiled in controversy in recent years, was one of the biggest movie stars of the 1990s and 2000s, and starred in numerous films directed by Tim Burton.

One of these included Edward Scissorhands, which is considered his big screen breakout role; at that time, Depp’s credits included the TV show 21 Jump Street, small appearances in A Nightmare on Elm Street and Platoon, and a starring role in John Waters’s Cry-Baby.

But Depp, who did not want to be pigeonholed as a teen heartthrob, actively campaigned to secure the lead role in Burton’s 1994 film about an unfinished artificial humanoid, with scissor blades instead for hands, who is taken in by a family in the suburbs.

According to the actor, several others, including Tom Hanks and Michael Jackson, were considered for the role – but there was one star who almost beat him: Tom Cruise.

People reports that Depp, in a new documentary series dedicated to Burton, said: “Tom Cruise was not far away from actually playing Edward Scissorhands – true story.”

In the new docuseries, Depp revealed he was certain he was not going to be cast as “everyone in Hollywood was after the part” and recalled calling his agent after reading the script and saying: “Please cancel the meeting; I’m not going.’”

Johnny Depp eventually won the role of Edward Scissorhands (Fox)
Johnny Depp eventually won the role of Edward Scissorhands (Fox)

The actor said his agent replied: “Are you f***ing nuts?”, adding: “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.”

Burton previously claimed that Fox urged him to meet with Cruise, who was riding high on success with Rain Man, Born on the Fourth of July and A Few Good Men, but said that he was never sold on the actor playing the character.

“He certainly wasn’t my ideal, but I talked to him”, Burton is reported to have said, stating: “He was interesting, but I think it worked out for the best.”

Fox wanted Tom Cruise for ‘Edward Scissorhands’ in the early 1990s (Getty Images)
Fox wanted Tom Cruise for ‘Edward Scissorhands’ in the early 1990s (Getty Images)

Despite Depp’s new claim, it’s believed Hanks who was closer to the role than Cruise, with reports alleging he was offered the role but turned it down to star in Brian De Palma’s infamous flop The Bonfire of the Vanities.

Other actors who were considered for the role included Gary Oldman – who turned the role down – as well as John Cusack, William Hurt and Robert Downey Jr.

Depp, reflecting on the role that eventually scored him his first Golden Globe nomination, said: “It passed through everything, anything, solid and went to the very core of whatever I am. The writing was beautiful. The character was beautiful.

Johnny Depp (Getty Images for The Red Sea Int)
Johnny Depp (Getty Images for The Red Sea Int)

“What I suppose [attracted] me emotionally was that Edward was me. It’s exactly what I should be doing.”