“I felt fortunate not having to pose with a revolver in my hand and kiss a girl wearing Lycra and do the same old expected leading-man stuff. Whenever a young actor comes out, they have to pin him with some sort of label so they call him a bad boy or that horrible word ’rebel’ , which is so played out and stupid. This made fun of people’s perceptions. It was really the only way I wanted to go.” – Johnny Depp, April 4, 1990
At that time, Johnny was still filming for “21 Jump Street”, and was one of the most famous teen idols, but behind the fame, Johnny was a little tired of everything. He used to receive several scripts for movies, but most of them had the same plots he was tired of making, such as the cute bad-boy, or the same melodramatic cliché stories, so Johnny declined them because he wanted something different to destroy his “cuteness” and “teen-idol” image. When he got involved with “Cry-Baby”, some people close to him, tried to advise saying that wouldn’t be a good idea making the movie where he were going to playing a rebel character, and also collaborating with a gay director, who at that time, was known for his trash movies with poor quality and weirdness. But Johnny had already decided to join the movie, which for him, was the best script he had read. Also, he admired John Waters and he replied those who didn’t approve his decision saying: “The easy way it boring to me”. After making the movie, Johnny was willing to leave “21 Jump Street” and tried to get fired from the series using different tactics, but in the other hand, it also made the tabloids starting to gossip and turn his image into a rebel. But when people thought that this would be the end of his career, another different man stepped on Johnny’s path, leading him for the world of weird and eccentric characters: Tim Burton. As Johnny said in a interview for the Chinese magazine “Movie View”:
Johnny performing “King Cry Baby” with his friends in “Cry-Baby”, 29 years ago.
“Yeah, I’m the king… (King Cry Baby) A king Cry Baby with a tear in my eye… And if you mess with the king, You’re gonna cry, A-baby cry, a-baby cry, a-baby cry, a-baby cry, wow!”
* Johnny and Amy Locane had to learn how to lip-sync for all the songs in
the movie, which in reality, were sung by James Intveld and Rachel Sweet. It wasn’t just learn the lines, they had to learn how to show their emotions and match their lip-syncing with the song timing.
* Johnny also had another challenge: Dancing. At that time, Johnny knew that he didn’t have to sing, what was one less thing to worry, but he really had to dance. And this he didn’t know either how… Even though he hated (And I bet he still hates),
he was convinced by Waters and also had to learn some 50′s dance moves, and choreographs, like the some from Elvis Presley, for the dance
parts. “It was a nightmare. I was horribly frightened” he revealed years later.
* 17 years later, we would hear for the first time, Johnny singing for real in
“Cry-Baby” Behind the scenes: John Waters and Johnny in 1989.
To find a young actor for the lead role, director John Waters, in his search for the popular young actors at that time, bought about 20 teen magazines and hid them under his jacket until his home (At that time, John was 42, and a man with his age buying dozen of magazines with young men on the cover, could be considered suspect). There when he finally looked to the magazine covers, and were flipping through the pages, he found out that in most of them there were pictures of Johnny. After a search for his profile, Waters first sent him a letter, later they had a meeting (which Johnny revealed had been love at first sight), and only then he gave an approval and sent to Johnny the script, which had everything that Johnny wanted: comedy, weird situations and satires of teenagers. At first, Waters thought that Johnny would be just like all the other teen-idols at that time, which was leaning on their beauty, fashion and money to be famous, but was caught by surprise when Johnny went for their meeting in Hollywood, dressed in old clothes almost like rags. In the middle of the meeting, Johnny looked at him and gave him a funny sneer, and that’s was enough for Waters understand that Johnny had understood his role, and feel that he had found the perfect actor for the movie.
PS: There’s some other curiosities and videos about “Cry-Baby”, that I’d like to post and during this week I’ll make it, but now, let’s talk about another movie making anniversary today! Let’s talk about “Blow”!
“ – You’ve made me the happiest juvenile delinquent in Baltimore.” – Wade
29 years ago, today (April 6), “Cry-Baby”, premiered in the USA. The teenage
musical comedy movie, originally premiered three weeks earlier, in March 14, in
the city where the movie happens and hometown of John Waters: Baltimore. Later
the movie premiered in April 6, in thousands of theaters around the USA. Worldwide,
the movie was released in selected countries, starting at the Cannes Film
Festival in France in May 1990. But “Cry-Baby” became a cult movie years later,
with the release of the VHS and TV screenings. In this movie, Johnny is Wade
“Cry-Baby” Walker, a 1950s bad boy with a good cause: truth, justice
and the pursuit of rock-and-roll and love.
> Synopsis: It’s 1954
in Baltimore, Maryland. Cry-Baby is the leader of the Drapes, a gang of high
school hoodlums and also a rock-and-roll singer. Allison is a young singer of
wholesome pop songs who’s dating the leader of the Squares, a group of teens
beloved by the community for their wholesome attitudes. During an inoculation
at their high school, the bug of love bites Cry-Baby and Allison, making the
rebel falls in love, and the young girl be consumed with a burning desire to be
“bad.” Between, rock-and-roll, fights, French kisses and a lot of
trouble, Cry-Baby must find a way to prove that despite of his bad-boy image, he’s
a nice guy with a heart of gold.
* In the 90’s dozens of teen-idols was everywhere in
the USA, and as usual, during the pre-production, some of them were considered
for the lead role, such as: Tom Cruise, Robert Downey Jr., and since the movie
was a comedy, even Jim Carey… But for Waters, there were only two people in
the world who could play Cry-Baby: First, a teenage killer, Charles
Starkweather, who had died 30 years earlier, and the other, Johnny Depp.
Johnny and Amy Locane had to learn how to lip-sync for all the songs in
the movie, which in reality, were sung by James Intveld and Rachel Sweet. In
the other hand, Johnny also collaborated as one of the most qualified on the
set to talk about the instruments played throughout the movie.
Even though Johnny was playing a teenager, supposed to be aged between
16/18, in reality, he was 26. The only teenager was his partner in the movie, Amy
Locane, which at that time was 17. Due to it, her mother was on set throughout the
whole filming, and Amy revealed being embarrassed for kissing Johnny in front
of her. On the movie, when her character says that she didn’t know how to
French Kiss, in real life, neither Amy knew. She revealed that Johnny basically
Cry-Baby was released in at least five slightly different versions:
The “Theatrical Version”, watched on
the theaters, VHS and on the first editions of the DVDs Edition (which also had
an extra performance named “Chicken”, as bonus feature).
Three “TV/Cable Network Versions”,
which was aired during 90’s and early to mid-2000. Two official and a third was
edited for TV:
One was the same Theatrical Version but censoring the first and second word
“F*ck”, even though, when the mother speaks the word for the third time, it’s
not censored. This was and still is mostly aired on free-to-air TV, cable
networks and some DVD’s.
A second TV Version was released with some R-rated scenes involving slangs,
religion or sexual scenes cut, that had to be substituted for new and exclusive
scenes from the original version, such as a longer dance scene and two extra
songs that only could be seen years later on DVD.
A third TV Version was heavily edited and aired mostly on free-to-air TV
around the world. This one has all the three swears censored, all the sexual and
R-rated references, such as the French kissing scenes, shorter or completely
cut, and even the scene where Cry-Baby adjust his crotch, was deleted and
changed for he combing his hair.
And the “Director’s Cut”, with almost 7
minutes of new extra scenes (some different from the second TV Version) was released
on DVD in 2005 to commemorate the film’s fifteenth anniversary.