Tim Burton’s teenage drawing that took twenty years to see the light: that’s how ‘Edward Scissorhands’ was born – Culture
We are going to take a trip back in time, and we are going to go up to two dates separated by just four months: December 1990 and April 1991. The first of them, in the United States, and the second, in Spain. In both, exactly the same thing happens, a milestone that will mark the film industry forever: one of Tim Burton’s flagship films is released, as well as Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder.
Is Edward Scissorhandsthat fantasy movie that takes place in a remote American townSuburbia, and which ended up becoming a cult and a benchmark of the 90s.
It also meant the consolidation of Tim Burton as one of the most special and creative directors in the industry, who came from directing the short frankenweenieand directing another of his classics: beetlejuicewinner of an Oscar.
In addition, it was one of the first times we saw Johnny Depp on the screen, who gained international success thanks to the role of Edward Scissorhands, and Winona Ryder, who had already starred in beetlejuice along with Burton.
Without a doubt, Eduardo Scissorhands marked a before and after in the career of the director and the leading actor, because, Since then, their relationship would grow and more film collaborations would follow.
But, although it is a film that became a cult phenomenon in the 90s, the movie had been brewing since before: in the midst of Tim Burton’s adolescence.
A drawing and some social problems that served as a base
1970s, Burbank, California, and a family of two children who are already born with the gift of comedy and creativity. The oldest of them, Thimoty Walter, felt, from a very young age, “different and isolated. You feel like you don’t fit in with your surroundings.”he later explained about his childhood.
And that feeling of loneliness that he had during his early years led Tim Burton to develop an impressive creativity, which began to be reflected in drawing. A piece of paper, a pencil and some brushes were enough to express how he felt.
That was how, in the midst of an arduous adolescence, who, a few years later would be a renowned director, drew what was to become Edward Scissorhands.
It was a black and white drawing, in which an extremely thin young man appeared, with a scarred face, disheveled hair, a leather suit full of beltsand, most striking of all, hands that simulated elongated knives.
“When I started drawing him, the emotional impulse was to make a character who couldn’t touch, who had emotions and who wanted to feel things.but due to his sharp fingers, he could never touch anyone” the director explained years later.
He always knew that this drawing would lead him to create a story with which he identified, because, in reality, that sketch was nothing more than a representation of himself.. “I have always felt that people want to get away from me, although I don’t know why” I would confess after the movie.
That said, while working on another of his classics, in beetlejuicehe came up with the definitive idea to bring this gloomy character to the big screen and, for that, nothing better than hiring a novelist to polish the details: Caroline Thompson.
“We were out drinking one night and Tim told me about a drawing he had done in high school about a character with scissors. in your hands. I immediately knew what to do with that character” commented the novelist.
Said and done, because that alone was enough to create a key film in the director’s career.
A very different idea from what was finally published
Although at first Caroline Thompson did not have it all with herself that Edward Scissorhands, was a success just as Burton had drawn it, he perfectly understood the concept of “feeling and not being able to”.
For this reason, to write the script, she wanted to be inspired by the border collie she had when she was a teenager, a dog that, according to her, was always “present” and was happy with the successes of her owner, even if she could not transmit them.
Such was the idea that he had created in his mind to give shape to Burton’s drawing, that the first essay he made for the movie, it was a musical. “One of the songs was called ‘I can’t with this,’” although [cuando Burton cambió de idea tras ver el musical] it became a more direct film and I think it was better that way” he explained.
Then came the casting, and Tim Burton clearly thought of Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder (both a couple at the time) and Dianne Wiest, who was moved when reading the initial script.
“I told Johnny Depp that his character was inspired by my dog and it fit with him. He understood everything about the drive to be present and participate and understand it with all the barriers that are between us and them,” Caroline Thompson later explained.
Although other actors stayed along the way, such as Tom Cruise, who did not quite connect with the character, Tom Hanks or Gary Oldman, who he deliberately turned down the role and which he eventually regretted.
The idea was very different at first, but the original drawing had something in common with what was finally published: everything had to be told. with the fantastic eyes of Eduardo Scissorhands and with the loneliness and isolation that characterize him.
But yes, also with the emotion of those who prioritize their heart before their head. Something like Tim Burton. And it is perhaps that duality that has made Edward Scissorhands one of the greatest movies of all time, fantasy, but, above all, cult.