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31 Facts You Probably Don't Know About "Edward Scissorhands"

Edward was almost played by John Cusack.

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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.

20th Century Fox

"Tim had done a drawing when he was in high school and he told me about it as we were searching for something to work on together, and I said, 'Stop right there, I know exactly what to do with this.'" —Caroline Thompson, screenwriter for Edward Scissorhands

3. The entire story is meant to be seen through Edward's eyes, which is why the neighborhood looks so "fantastical."

20th Century Fox

"Clearly that idea of suburbia is intended to be seen through Edward's eyes, so that it looks like suburbia, but it also looks slightly more fantastical and appealing to him in a weird way." —Bo Welch, production designer for Edward Scissorhands

4. For filming, the crew took over a newly built neighborhood in Tampa, Florida.

20th Century Fox

"I don't know if you could pull it off now. I don't know if you could find 20 people in 20 homes who would allow you to do that." —BW

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.

20th Century Fox

"There was Johnny in his leather suit, refusing the cooling agent, and soldiering around with his gigantic scissors. It was really amazing, and I applaud him for the devotion that he showed." —CT

9. Edward is based on Thompson's dog.

20th Century Fox

"She was a little border collie mix, and she'd been dead about six years when I wrote the script. It was a love letter to her." —CT

10. Thompson dated a mime in high school, so people from her hometown assumed that's who Edward was based on.

20th Century Fox

"People I grow up with think so, but I don't. His name is Mark Jaster; he's a very famous mime in Washington, D.C." —CT

11. The character Peg (Dianne Wiest) is based on Thompson's mom, who used to bring home strangers.

20th Century Fox

" I don't think the story would have had the shape it did if my mother hadn't been prone to bringing strangers home to live with us. It didn't seem unusual to me that [Peg] would say, 'I'm taking you home!' That's exactly what my mother would have done." —CT

15. At first, Johnny Depp struggled to understand Edward as a character.

20th Century Fox

"I arrived on set after they'd been shooting for a week, and Johnny was very confused about his character, and it was my first movie, so I didn't know that writers weren't supposed to talk to the actors." —CT

16. But when Thompson explained that Edward was based on her dog, everything clicked into place for him.

20th Century Fox

"[Johnny] was just so confused about [Edward], I said, 'Well, the character is actually based on my dog, and if you imagine a dog that is so present and so eager and so smart...that's that character.' And he got it instantly. Shazam." —CT

17. Thompson believes all the "animal-like characters" she writes comes from feeling alienated as a kid.

20th Century Fox

"As a kid I felt left out of everything, really. I think that's why I write these outsider, largely animal-like characters, because that's how I felt as a kid." —CT

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.

20th Century Fox

"I don't write with actors in mind…it would be a heartbreak for the writer since we have nothing to do with the casting of the movie. This movie made Johnny Depp…well, Johnny Depp." —CT

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

21. When Peg looks in her rearview 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.

20th Century Fox

"We made that shot up on the fly. It's not like today where it would be blue screen and comped in, so we ran into the art department and we had built a beautiful model of that house. We put it on a C-stand right outside the car." —BW

22. When Thompson first heard about Edward, a character with scissors for hands, she thought it was "the silliest thing [she'd] ever heard."

24. But the dog haircuts are.

20th Century Fox

"This was 25 years ago — the things you see in the movie are actual, physical things. There's not the digital green screen, CG element you have that pervades movies today. So, you see a dog getting a haircut, it's a dog getting a haircut." —BW

25. Edward Scissorhands only got made because Thompson and Tim Burton were both represented by the same agency, and no one knew what to do with them.

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

"We had such unusual sensibilities that they didn't know quite what to do with either of us, so they introduced us. We met for lunch down in Venice and had a long lunch and then a long walk on the beach and yapped our heads off." —CT

26. The entire movie is based on a 70-page treatment Thompson wrote in just three weeks.

20th Century Fox

"I was more of a prose writer at the time than a screenwriter, so I went home and in a few weeks I wrote a 70-page treatment in prose and gave that to Tim, and that's pretty much the movie that we made." —CT

27. The waterbed scene was one of the only scenes that wasn't originally in the script.

20th Century Fox

"Tim asked me to make it a waterbed, it wasn't originally a waterbed. Tim saw a waterbed and thought, Oh my God, that's hilarious. ...There's not very much else that changed from the original story." —CT

28. Tim Burton is the ultimate matchmaker. He set Bo Welch up with his wife, Catherine O'Hara, who starred in Beetlejuice.

Matej Divizna / Getty Images

"Tim said to me, 'You know what, you should ask Catherine out.' And I was sort of flummoxed because I didn't even…it never occurred to me that you would ask an actor out. But he know something was there, in his infinite wisdom." —BW

30. There's definitely a lot of Tim Burton in Edward.

20th Century Fox

"None of us knows what to do with our hands, and if you ever watch a young Tim Burton [being] interviewed, you'll see him flailing around, his hands all over the place. That metaphor is obviously very personal to him." —CT

"I think it reflects his being raised in Burbank, (California) where he sort of felt like he was trapped, and the odd man out in an environment that felt somewhat alien to him." —BW

31. The main message we can all take away from Edward Scissorhands is one of hope: You're not by yourself. You're not alone.

20th Century Fox

"You're not by yourself. You're not alone; everyone feels the way you feel. When you feel isolated like that, you feel like you're the only one who feels that way. Then you open your eyes and look around and realize everyone feels that way." —CT

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