The idea for the movie was inspired by a drawing Tim Burton had done when he was a teenager,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."
The entire story is meant to be seen through Edward's eyes, which is why the neighborhood looks so "fantastical."
Winona Ryder dropped out of The Godfather: Part III (1990) to appear in this film. Reportedly, it was Johnny Depp who actually convinced her to do so.
Vincent Price's role was intended to be larger, but the veteran actor was very ill with emphysema and Parkinson's disease, so his scenes were cut to a minimum.
Tim Burton has never intended to make a sequel as he said it would rob the film of its "Purity".
Although Tim Burton said this isn't his greatest film, he said it is his favorite of all his films, and the score is Danny Elfman's favorite of all his soundtrack compositions.
The houses used in the film were a real community in Florida, completely unchanged, except for their garish exterior paint.
O-Lan Jones arranged and actually played the organ music her character Esmeralda performs on-screen.
The restaurant, at which the family eats, was, at one time, a real restaurant; a national chain diner called "Sambo's". It was located directly across the street from Southgate Shopping Center, as it appears in the movie. Due to the controversial nature of the name and interior design, the diner (and entire chain) closed sometime in the late 70s or early 80s, except for the original location in Santa Barbara, California, which, to this day, remains open in its original location. It remained an abandoned building for many years, until Tim Burton came to town to film this movie. Burton's crew unboarded the doors and windows and redressed the interior to look like a working restaurant again.
The little blonde boy on the Slip 'N Slide, at the beginning of the film, is Nick Carter of The Backstreet Boys. Though uncredited in the film, Carter himself has confirmed this in several interviews.
The waterbed scene was one of the only scenes that wasn't originally in the script.
The character Peg is based on Caroline Thompson's mom, who used to bring home strangers. The neighbors are based on people she grew up with as a kid.
The first draft of the film was written as a musical, a concept Tim Burton would revisit for The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) and Corpse Bride (2005).
Johnny Depp was determined to nail the character, and refused any cooling agent, even in his all-leather costume.
Some of the topiary that Edward makes in the movie, can be seen permanently at the New York City restaurant Tavern On the Green.
This film marks the first time that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp worked together. They ended up becoming good friends since this film.
The crew took façades of the houses and reduced the size of the windows, to make them slightly more paranoid-looking.
The entire movie is based on a seventy-page treatment that Caroline Thompson wrote in just three weeks.
Tim Burton had asked Robert Smith of The Cure to do the soundtrack, and had even sent the script. Robert was busy recording "Disintegration" at the time, and didn't know who Burton was, so passed up the opportunity, handing Danny Elfman the job.
The character Edward is based on a drawing Tim Burton did in high school. The name Edward Scissorhands was taken directly from that drawing.
Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder dated throughout filming of this movie, and became engaged during the same year (1990).
When Edward goes to have his hands sharpened, the storefront was that of an actual hardware store called Crowder Brothers in the Southgate Shopping Center. At the time of the filming, they did offer a sharpening service, and they did have a giant motorized Wenger in the window.
The Southgate Shopping Center is located in Lakeland, Florida, while the neighborhood was filmed at the Carpenter's Run subdivision in Lutz, Florida.
When Caroline Thompson first heard about Edward, a character with scissors for hands, she thought it was "the silliest thing she'd ever heard."
Edward's amazing topiaries aren't real. They're all welded steel armature, wrapped with chicken wire, and artificial greens were punched in.
Contrary to popular belief, Winona Ryder was actually cast in the film before Johnny Depp got the part of the title character.
Dianne Wiest was the first to sign on. "Dianne, in particular, was wonderful", Tim 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".
Alan Arkin (Bill) 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".
Tom Cruise, Jim Carrey, and Robert Downey, Jr. were all considered for the role of Edward Scissorhands.
Tim 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".
Though Tim 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. 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.To prepare for his role, Johnny Depp watched the films of silent movie actor Charles Chaplin to get an idea of how to emote without dialogue.
During the scene where Edward is cutting the neighborhood ladies hair, the song playing is from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Johnny Depp would later go on to play Sweeney Todd in another collaboration with Tim Burton.
Kathy Baker saw her part of Joyce, the neighbor who tries to seduce Edward, as a perfect chance to break into comedy.
Johnny Depp's wardrobe and prosthetic makeup took one hour and 45 minutes to apply.
When Peg looks in her rear view mirror at Edward's castle for the first time, the castle she sees is a small study model from the art department, held up on a C-stand.
Viewers are divided on whether they think Kim is telling a fairy tale to her granddaughter or relating a story about something that really happened to her. since it's debatable viewers are left to decide.
The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Dianne Wiest and Alan Arkin; and two Oscar nominees: Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder.
One of two films released in 1990 in which Johnny Depp plays the title role, for the first time. The other is Cry-Baby (1990).
The scene where Peg Boggs comes into the mansion she backs up to the base of the staircase, right behind her you'll see a statue which looks like the Oogie Boogie man in The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) which Tim Burton came up with the story and produced also.
The faded-pastel palette they came up with was intended to look a bit like a "faded circus."
Crispin Glover auditioned for the role of Jim. He later played an antagonist to Johnny Depp in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010).
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
When Peg Boggs comes into the Mansion for the first time, she backs up to the staircase and she looks around for a few moments. If you look carefully at the wall at the top of the stairs in the right top corner you'll see an odd spiky shaped shadow, which moves and has the faint sound of scissors snipping. It is Edward looking down to see who the stranger to his house is.
The old man at the barbecue, is the doctor who delivers the Penguin in Batman Returns (1992).
Tim Burton acknowledged that the main themes of Edward Scissorhands deal with self-discovery and isolation. Edward is found living alone in the attic of a Gothic castle, a setting that is also used for main characters in Burton's Batman and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Edward Scissorhands climaxes much like James Whale's Frankenstein and Burton's own Frankenweenie. A mob confronts the "evil creature", in this case, Edward, at his castle. With Edward unable to consummate his love for Kim because of his appearance, the film can also be seen as being influenced by Beauty and the Beast. Edward Scissorhands is a fairy tale book-ended by a prologue and an epilogue featuring Kim Boggs as an old woman telling her granddaughter the story, augmenting the German Expressionism and Gothic fiction archetypes.
Winona Ryder starred in three films in 1990. "Edward Scissorhands" and "Mermaids", which were released on the same day, December 14, 1990. Ryder was also the star of "Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael" which was released two months earlier.
Johnny Depp's first movie role was in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), in which the killer Freddy Krueger wore gloves fitted with blades. Also, Winona Ryder also previously auditioned for the role of Kristen in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) and was later considered for the role of Julie in New Nightmare (1994). Both roles would eventually go to Patricia Arquette and Tracy Middendorf respectively.
Tim Burton and Caroline Thompson cite monster stories (specifically The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), Frankenstein (1931), King Kong (1933) and Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)) and fairy tales as an influence on the film.
Tim Burton casted Dianne Wiest as Peg after seeing her in films like Parenthood (1989) and The Lost Boys (1987).
Rick Baker was first approached to do the make-up effects for this film. But Baker was busy doing Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990). Rob Bottin had also been approached, but was working on Total Recall (1990). Burton finally approached Stan Winston, having been impressed with his work on films like The Terminator (1984) and Aliens (1986). Winston agreed to work on the film.
The hill on which Edward's Gothic mansion sits is based on California Institute of The Arts, Tim Burton's alma matter. The campus for the Institute is on a hill in Valencia, looking down on a clean-cut suburban town.
Leonard Nimoy was Tim Burton's second choice for The Inventor in case Vincent Price was unavailable or turned it down. Winona Ryder would co-star with Nimoy in Star Trek (2009).
Wil Wheaton was considered for the role of Jim, but was contractually obligated to Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987).
Tim Burton originally wanted Geena Davis for the role of Peg after working with her on Beetlejuice (1988). However, Davis was unavailable as she was busy shooting Quick Change (1990).
Joyce's husband plays one of the security guards scared by Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns (1992).
Tim Burton and Johnny Depp would make another movie about a character with blades on/in hands titled Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007).
At one point, Stan Winston had to leave production for one day to direct the teaser trailer for Terminator 2 (1991).
Sara Gilbert was considered for the role of Kim Boggs. But the producers of Roseanne (1988) wouldn't allow her out of her contract. Julia Roberts, Molly Ringwald, Lea Thompson, Alyssa Milano, Jennifer Connelly, Ally Sheedy, Heather Langenkamp, Elizabeth Shue and Uma Thurman were also considered for the role.
Corey Feldman was considered for the role of Jim. But he turned it down as he was busy doing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990).
When Peg is answering the phone call on her bed, she has Avon products on her bedside table, implying that she uses them herself, as well as selling them.