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As soon as October hits, so do discussions about beloved films with a spooky/gothic vibe. Edward Scissorhands always enters the chat during Halloween season, sparking memories of Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder’s romance on and off the camera.

But so much more went on behind the scenes of the film, including some interesting casting choices. Though Depp played the quirky character with depth and heart, Tom Cruise had a shot at the gig too. He missed out.

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise, The Fashion Awards 2019 | Gareth Cattermole/BFC/Getty Images

Multiple celebrities were considered for Edward Scissorhands lead role

Directed by Tim Burton, Edward Scissorhands bent the classic fairy tale genre into a new shape and became a cult classic. It’s hard to imagine someone other than Depp in the role as he’s known for tackling eccentric characters, but other famous names were in consideration.

According to Dazed Digital, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Cruise, Jim Carrey, and Tom Hanks were contenders that came to Burton’s mind. But Cruise was one of the top choices and gave Depp a run for his money.

Why Tom Cruise didn’t wind up as Edward Scissorhands

Caroline Thompson penned the script and produced Edward Scissorhands, and fondly recalled how the story came together and the characters were based on people she knew.

She told Dazed Digital in the 2015 interview that Burton gave her his idea for Edward, and she fleshed out the first draft for the tale in a few weeks.

She also shared that Cruise was really interested in the lead role but he axed himself out.

“[Cruise] wanted to know how Edward went to the bathroom,” she told the outlet. “He was asking the kind of questions about the character that can’t be asked for this character! Part of the delicacy of the story was not answering questions like, ‘How does he go to the bathroom? How did he live without eating all those years?’ Tom Cruise was certainly unwilling to be in the movie without those questions being answered.”

After meeting with Burton and putting his spin on the character, Depp was offered the lead role alongside Ryder.


Robert Downey Jr. Almost Played This Iconic Johnny Depp Character

Depp was excited for the role but worried about getting fired

Edward Scissorhands arrived in theaters in 1990, and Depp was 27 years old. In an old interview with Charlie Rose, he spoke about his experience on set with Burton and noted they had a similar sense of humor and got on well. However, Depp also said he wasn’t sure if Burton was happy with his performance.

To further complicate his feelings of insecurity, there was an incident involving some fans.

“I can remember when we were doing Scissorhands we were living in this sort of resort, some kind of country club thing, and there was a knock on the door one afternoon while everybody was off rehearsing,” he said.

“There were two young girls at the door and I thought, ‘Oh, they found me and maybe they want me to sign something, I don’t know.’ So, I opened the door and said, ‘How do you do?’ and they said, ‘Hi. Is Tom Hanks here? Does he live here?’ I said, ‘What? No. Not yet.’ And I was convinced that Hanks would be replacing me. I was convinced. It was one of the most frightening moments in my career.”

Depp’s concerns turned out to be unwarranted and Burton loved how he played the iconic character.