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Edward Scissorhands is a 1990 American fantasy romance film directed by Tim Burton. It was produced by Burton and Denise Di Novi, and written by Caroline Thompson from a story by her and Burton. Johnny Depp plays an artificial humanoid named Edward, an unfinished creation who has scissor blades instead of hands. The young man is taken in by a suburban family and falls in love with their teenage daughter Kim (Winona Ryder). Additional roles were played by Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker, Vincent Price, and Alan Arkin.

Plot

One evening, an elderly woman tells her granddaughter the story of a young man named Edward who has scissor blades for hands. As the creation of an old inventor, Edward is a humanoid who is almost completed. The Inventor homeschools Edward, but suffers a heart attack and dies before giving real hands to Edward, leaving him permanently "unfinished".

Many years later, Peg Boggs, a local door-to-door Avon saleswoman, tries to sell at the decrepit Gothic mansion where Edward lives. She finds Edward alone and offers to take him to her home after discovering he is virtually harmless. Peg introduces Edward to her husband Bill, their young son Kevin and their teenage daughter Kim. Edward falls in love with Kim, despite initially fearing him. As their neighbors are curious about their new houseguest, the Boggs throw a neighborhood barbecue welcoming Edward. Most of the neighbors are fascinated by Edward and befriend him, except for the eccentric religious fanatic Esmeralda, and Kim's boyfriend Jim.

Edward repays the neighborhood for their kindness by trimming their hedges into topiaries, soon progressing to grooming dogs' hair and later styling the hair of the neighborhood women. One of the neighbors, Joyce, offers to help Edward open a hair salon. While scouting a location, Joyce attempts to seduce him, but scares him away. Joyce lies to the neighborhood women about the affair, reducing their trust in him. The bank denies Edward a loan as he does not have a background or financial history.

Jealous of Kim's attraction to Edward, Jim suggests Edward pick the lock on his parents' home to obtain a van for Jim and Kim. Edward agrees, but when he picks the lock, a burglar alarm is triggered. Jim flees and Edward is arrested. The police determine that a lifetime of isolation has left Edward without any sense of reality or common sense. Edward takes responsibility for the robbery, telling Kim he did it because she asked him to. Consequently, Edward is shunned by the entire neighborhood, except for the Boggs family. During Christmas, Edward carves an angelic ice sculpture modeled after Kim; the ice shavings are thrown into the air and fall like snow, a rarity for the neighborhood. Kim dances in the snowfall. Jim arrives and calls out to Edward, surprising him and causing him to accidentally cut Kim's hand. Jim accuses Edward of intentionally harming Kim, but Kim, weary of Jim's jealousy towards Edward, consequently breaks up with him. Edward flees in a rage, destroying his works and scaring Esmeralda until he is calmed by a stray dog.

Kim's parents set out to find Edward while Kim stays behind in case he returns. Edward returns to the Boggs home to find Kim there, who asks him to hold her, but Edward fears he will hurt her. Jim drives around in a drunken rage and nearly runs over Kevin, but Edward pushes Kevin to safety, inadvertently cutting him. The witnesses believe that Edward is attacking Kevin and when Jim assaults Edward, Edward defends himself, cutting Jim's arm before fleeing to the mansion.

Kim races after Edward, while Jim obtains a handgun and follows Kim. In the mansion, Jim ambushes Edward and fights with him; Edward refuses to fight back until he sees Jim slap Kim as she attempts to intervene. Enraged, Edward stabs Jim in the stomach and pushes him from a window of the mansion, killing him. Kim confesses her love to Edward and kisses him before departing. As the neighbors gather, Kim convinces them that Jim and Edward killed each other.

The elderly woman finishes telling her granddaughter the story, revealing that she is Kim in her old age and saying that she never saw Edward again, preferring not to visit him because decades have passed and she wants him to remember her as she was in her youth. She believes Edward is still alive, immortal because he is artificial, and because of the "snow", which he creates when carving ice sculptures. Kim’s beliefs are revealed to be true as Edward is shown alive and continues to carve the ice sculptures, remembering his experiences with Kim.

Cast

  • Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands
  • Winona Ryder as Kim Boggs
  • Dianne Wiest as Peg Boggs, Kim's mother
  • Anthony Michael Hall as Jim
  • Kathy Baker as Joyce Monroe
  • Robert Oliveri as Kevin Boggs, Kim's younger brother
  • Conchata Ferrell as Helen
  • Caroline Aaron as Marge
  • Dick Anthony Williams as Officer Allen
  • O-Lan Jones as Esmeralda
  • Vincent Price as The Inventor
  • Alan Arkin as Bill Boggs, Kim's father

Production

Development

The genesis of Edward Scissorhands came from a drawing by then-teenaged director Tim Burton, which reflected his feelings of isolation and being unable to communicate to people around him in suburban Burbank. The drawing depicted a thin, solemn man with long, sharp blades for fingers. Burton stated that he was often alone and had trouble retaining friendships. "I get the feeling people just got this urge to want to leave me alone for some reason, I don't know exactly why." During pre-production of Beetlejuice, Burton hired Caroline Thompson, then a young novelist, to write the Edward Scissorhands screenplay as a spec script. Burton was impressed with her short novel, First Born, which was "about an abortion that came back to life". Burton felt First Born had the same psychological elements he wanted to showcase in Edward Scissorhands. "Every detail was so important to Tim because it was so personal", Thompson remarked. She wrote Scissorhands as a "love poem" to Burton, calling him "the most articulate person I know, but couldn't put a single sentence together".

Shortly after Thompson's hiring, Burton began to develop Edward Scissorhands at Warner Bros., with whom he worked on Pee-wee's Big Adventure and Beetlejuice. However, within a couple of months, Warner sold the film rightsto 20th Century Fox. Fox agreed to finance Thompson's screenplay while giving Burton complete creative control. At the time, the budget was projected to be around $8–9 million. When writing the storyline, Burton and Thompson were influenced by Universal Horror films, such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), Frankenstein (1931), and Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), as well as King Kong(1933) and various fairy tales. Burton originally wanted to make Scissorhands as a musical, feeling "it seemed big and operatic to me", but later dropped the idea. Following the enormous success of Batman, Burton arrived to the status of being an A-list director. He had the opportunity to do any film he wanted, but rather than fast track Warner Bros.' choices for Batman Returns or Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian, Burton opted to make Edward Scissorhands for Fox.

Casting

Although Winona Ryder was the first cast member attached to the script, Dianne Wiest was the first to sign on. "Dianne, in particular, was wonderful", Burton said. "She was the first actress to read the script, supported it completely and, because she is so respected, once she had given it her stamp of approval, others soon got interested". When it came to casting the lead role of Edward, several actors were considered; Fox was insistent on having Burton meet with Tom Cruise. "He certainly wasn't my ideal, but I talked to him", Burton remembered. "He was interesting, but I think it worked out for the best. A lot of questions came up". Cruise asked for a "happier" ending. Tom Hanks and Gary Oldman turned down the part,Hanks in favor of critical and commercial flop The Bonfire of the Vanities. Oldman found the story to be absurd, but understood it after watching "literally two minutes" of the completed film. Jim Carrey was also considered for the role, while Thompson favored John Cusack. Elsewhere, William Hurt, Robert Downey Jr. and musician Michael Jackson expressed interest, although Burton did not converse with Jackson.

Though Burton was unfamiliar with Johnny Depp's then-popular performance in 21 Jump Street, he had always been Burton's first choice. At the time of his casting, Depp was wanting to break out of the teen idol status which his performance in 21 Jump Street had afforded him. When he was sent the script, Depp "wept like a newborn" and immediately found personal and emotional connections with the story. In preparation for the role, Depp watched many Charlie Chaplin films to study the idea of creating sympathy without dialogue. Fox studio executives were so worried about Edward's image, that they tried to keep pictures of Depp in full costume under wraps until release of the film. Burton approached Ryder for the role of Kim Boggs based on their positive working experience in Beetlejuice. Drew Barrymore previously auditioned for the role. Crispin Glover auditioned for the role of Jim before Anthony Michael Hall was cast.

Kathy Baker saw her part of Joyce, the neighbor who tries to seduce Edward, as a perfect chance to break into comedy. Alan Arkin says when he first read the script, he was "a bit baffled. Nothing really made sense to me until I saw the sets. Burton's visual imagination is extraordinary". The role of The Inventor was written specifically for Vincent Price, and would ultimately be his final feature film role. Burton commonly watched Price's films as a child, and, after completing Vincent, the two became good friends. Robert Oliveri was cast as Kevin, Kim's younger brother. Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys plays an uncredited role as the blond boy playing on the Slip 'n Slide as Edward rides in Peg's car through suburbia.

Release

Test screenings for the film were encouraging for 20th Century Fox. Joe Roth, then president of the company, considered marketing Edward Scissorhands on the scale of "an E.T.-sized blockbuster," but Roth decided not to aggressively promote the film in that direction. "We have to let it find its place. We want to be careful not to hype the movie out of the universe," he reasoned. Edward Scissorhands had its limited release in the United States on December 7, 1990. The wide release came on December 14, and the film earned $6,325,249 in its opening weekend in 1,372 theaters. Edward Scissorhandseventually grossed $56,362,352 in North America, and a further $29,661,653 outside North America, coming to a worldwide total of $86.02 million. With a budget of $20 million, the film is considered a box office success. The New York Times wrote "the chemistry between Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder, who were together in real life at the time (19891993), gave the film teen idol potential, drawing younger audiences."

Legacy

Burton cites Edward Scissorhands as epitomizing his most personal work. The film is also Burton's first collaboration with actor Johnny Depp and cinematographer Stefan Czapsky. In October 2008, the Hallmark Channel purchased the television rights. Metal band Motionless in White have a song entitled "Scissorhands (The Last Snow)", with its lyrics written about the film in homage to its legacy and impact on the gothic subculture.Scottish indie rock band The Twilight Sad named a mini-album Here, It Never Snowed. Afterwards It Did after a line spoken in the final scene of the film.

An extinct lobster-like sea creature called Kootenichela deppi is named after Depp because of its scissor-like claws.

From 2014 to 2015, IDW Publishing released an Edward Scissorhands comic book series which serves as a sequel and takes place several decades after the film. The series consists of ten issues which have been collected in two trade paperbacks. It was written by Kate Lethwith art by Drew Rausch.

An ad for the Cadillac Lyriq, an electric car with hands-free driving features, premiered during Super Bowl LV and is based on the film; it features Ryder reprising her role as Kim, now mother to Edward's son, Edgar, played by Timothée Chalamet.

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