Tim Burton’s wonderful romantic–fantasy movies Edward Scissorhands kickstarted Johnny Depp’s movie career, but he wasn’t the first choice to play the lost soul with blades for fingers. While Depp was always Burton’s first choice, 20th Century Fox – the studio which was paying for the film- wasn’t convinced.
As such, the role was shopped around Hollywood, being offered to Tom Hanks, Gary Oldman, and Tom Cruise. Cruise was reportedly very interested in playing Edward and actually met with Burton to talk about the character. Apparently, the Top Gun star had plenty of questions for the gothic director, but after a bit of back and forth (which included Cruise asking Burton to give the film a happy ending), the pair went their separate ways, with Burton convinced he wasn’t right for Edward.
So what did Cruise ask Burton? Well, according to Caroline Thompson, the producer on Edward Scissorhands, Cruise wanted to know exactly how Edward went to the bathroom and other questions that broke the whole magical reality that Burton wanted his family movie to have.
“[Cruise] wanted to know how Edward went to the bathroom,” Thompson told Dazed. 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.”
Cruise’s loss was Burton’s gain, Depp’s performance was widely praised, and the film earned fur times its budget at the box office. As for Cruise, he went on to star in the action movie Days of Thunder, which, while not quite a critical darling, still made $157.9 million at the box office.
If you’re a fan of films like Edward Scissorhands, then check out our guide on the best scary movies for kids.