To celebrate the film's 25th anniversary, we spoke with its screenwriter, Caroline Thompson, and production designer, Bo Welch, about their experiences with Edward, Tim Burton, and the now-famous neighborhood of colorful characters.
1. The character Edward is based on a drawing Tim Burton did in high school.
2. And the name Edward Scissorhands was taken directly from that drawing.
3. The entire story is meant to be seen through Edward's eyes, which is why the neighborhood looks so "fantastical."
4. For filming, the crew took over a newly built neighborhood in Tampa, Florida.
5. The crew took facades of the houses and reduced the size of the windows to make it slightly more paranoid-looking.
6. And the beautiful, faded-pastel palette they came up with was intended to look a bit like a "faded circus."
7. It was so hot during filming, Thompson had a "heat rash so bad it looked like [the monster from] The Exorcist was trying to scratch its way out of [her] stomach."
8. But Johnny Depp was determined to nail the character, and refused any cooling agent — even in his all-leather costume.
9. Edward is based on Thompson's dog.
10. Thompson dated a mime in high school, so people from her hometown assumed that's who Edward was based on.
11. The character Peg (Dianne Wiest) is based on Thompson's mom, who used to bring home strangers.
12. The neighbors are based on people she grew up with as a kid.
13. And some of them definitely knew when the movie came out.
14. But Edward Scissorhands is the only story Thompson's written that's based on people from her real life.
15. At first, Johnny Depp struggled to understand Edward as a character.
16. But when Thompson explained that Edward was based on her dog, everything clicked into place for him.
17. Thompson believes all the "animal-like characters" she writes comes from feeling alienated as a kid.
18. Which makes sense, since Thompson also wrote the screenplays for Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey and Black Beauty.
As well as The Addams Family, The Secret Garden, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Buddy, and Corpse Bride.
19. Thompson didn't have any specific actors in mind to play the main characters.
20. But her first choice for the role of Edward was John Cusack, and her first choice for the role of Kim was Laura Dern.
"Johnny knows that. I don't know if Winona knows it or not. That was my fantasy cast. I don't write with actors in mind, but one can't help but fantasize later." —CT