When Tim Burton started working with Johnny Depp in 1990 he was an unknown quantity. Depp had made a name for himself in the TV world on shows such as 21 Jump Street and Lady Blue. But moving over to the world of the silver screen was a big step. And when the creepy king of cinema took him on, he wasn’t sure how long he would last.
Long before the Pirates of the Caribbean actor became a household name, he was not even convinced Burton would keep him on the film, despite the fact shooting had already begun.
Depp opened up about beginning his work with Burton in 1999 while talking to Charlie Rose. He explained how, despite the fact he had secured the role of Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood through auditions and various meetings, he never felt safe. In fact, Burton left Depp to work on the character of Edward Scissorhands however he wanted – furthering his fears.
The American star recalled: “Before we did Scissorhands, [Burton] rehearsed everyone. He didn’t rehearse me. He didn’t really know exactly what I was going to do when I walked on the set.”
Depp confessed that he spent a long time thinking “he was going to be fired” from the Fox movie (now a Disney property).
Depp, who was just 27-years-old at the time, was not sure he had what it took to stick around. He said: “I spent the first two weeks of Ed Wood, and Scissorhands, and in fact Sleepy Hollow thinking that I was going to be fired – that I was going to be replaced.”
Depp was obviously suffering from imposter syndrome at this point. He even explained how, at the time, he couldn’t help but think: “There’s no way I can get away with this. There’s just no way.”
The fears got even worse when he was approached by some fans on set who were looking for Tom Hanks.
Hanks was previously a strong candidate to play Edward Scissorhands before Depp came along. So the mention of his name sent the actor into a panic.
READ MORE: Johnny Depp won Edward Scissorhands after Top Gun star’s ‘questions’
After that, Depp confessed: “I was convinced that Hanks would be replacing me. I was convinced. It was one of the most frightening moments in my career.”
But, with a smile, he revealed to Rose how he got away with it. Depp told the journalist: “Luckily, Tim was happy with the stuff, and I didn’t lose my job.”
And Tim was so happy with Depp’s performance in Edward Scissorhands that he continued to hire him for various projects going forward.
Depp and Burton worked together on a number of gothic movies, including Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, etc.
Burton said of his friend: “Here was a guy who was perceived as this thing – this Tiger Beat teen idol. But just meeting him, I could tell, without knowing the guy, he wasn’t that as a person.” He added: “Very simply, he fit the profile of the character [Edward Scissorhands]. We were in Florida in 90-degree heat, and he couldn’t use his hands, and he was wearing a leather outfit and covered head to toe with makeup. I was impressed by his strength and stamina.”
Edward Scissorhands is available to watch on Disney Plus now.
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