Behind The Scenes

Edward Scissorhands' "Scissor Hands"

Johnny Depp, Tim Burton & Stan Winston collaborated to create an iconic fantasy character with the feature film Edward Scissorhands

May 15, 2012

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton have had many great collaborations throughout the years, but arguably none better than the first time they worked together, which also just happened to be the first time Stan Winston worked with either of them as well.  The project was Edward Scissorhands.  And the alliance of these three masters of their craft helped create movie magic.

Edward Scissorhands is easily one of the most memorable film characters of all time.  The list of his unique qualities is lengthy, including his intricate leather outfit, his distinctive hair and makeup (Academy Award nominated,) and of course Johnny Depp’s amazing performance.  But of course, the defining characteristic of Edward Scissorhands is, well, his scissor hands.

The character was based on an early drawing that Tim Burton did while still in high school.  It was rough and only showed long line sketches for his fingers.  It was Winston who took this basic idea and actually put real scissors in place of the fingers.  In fact, when Burton first saw Winston’s enhanced drawings he said, “I didn’t think he’d actually have scissors for fingers.  I though they’d just be long sharp pieces of metal that weren’t finished – but this is much better!”  It’s a prime example of two complementing minds working better than one.

To construct the scissor hands, Stan and his team searched for every different kind of pruning shear and scissor ever made.  Next time you look at the hands, notice that each finger looks much different from the next.  Once the final design was established, many sets of the scissor hands were then made.  In the photo above you can see Andy Schoneberg and Dave Grasso mass producing these numerous sets.  Most of these were very safe, lightweight resin blades, vacumetalized to give them the appearance of metal, but there were in fact a few real ones constructed for insert shots.  Regardless of material, they all looked perfectly real to anyone who watched.

Makes you want to watch the movie again, doesn’t it?  Me too.

-Jeff Dixon

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