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What the Hell Happened: The Family Drama Behind Timothée Chalamet’s Super Bowl Commercial

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For those who still haven’t quite grasped the rules of football, Super Bowl commercials (and the halftime show, of course) often serve as the primary entertainment of the event. On the biggest night in television, companies pull out all the stops — and this year’s crop of ads certainly did not disappoint. One of the standouts from the night was a Cadillac commercial based on the iconic 1990 Tim Burton film “Edward Scissorhands,” featuring the internet’s darling, Timothée Chalamet, alongside original cast member Winona Ryder.

The commercial opens with Ryder repeating the opening line of the movie, “This is the story of a boy with scissors for hands,” before adding, “No, not that one.” The commercial is set in the present-day, many years after the original, which took place in the 1950s. Ryder’s character Kim Boggs now has a son, Edgar (Chalamet) who has inherited his father’s iconic hands — and the difficulties that come with them. He punctures footballs, gets magnetic objects stuck to him, and cracks his phone screen trying to use it. He even struggles to ride the bus, so his mother gifts him the all-new electric Cadillac, equipped with hands-free driving so that Edgar can ride off into the sunset with ease.

The ad nailed the Tim Burton aesthetic and the nostalgia factor, but the biggest buzz came from Chalamet’s connection to actor Johnny Depp, the original Edward Scissorhands. Chalamet previously dated Lily Rose Depp, the actor’s daughter, and the fact that he was playing tribute to his ex-girlfriend’s father’s role did not escape the notice of fans. And it gets better — Ryder had also dated Johnny Depp for some time, turning the commercial into something resembling a strange meta family drama.

Nevertheless, Chalamet’s pale, emo good looks and innocent, endearing character were a perfect fit for the character of Edgar, leading many fans to call for a Chalamet-helmed remake. The original creator of “Edward Scissorhands,” Tim Burton, reacted to the commercial with delight. “It’s rare when a work you’re proud of continues to live on and evolve with the times, even after 30 years,” he told Vanity Fair. I’m glad to see Edgar coping with the new world! I hope both fans and those being introduced to “Edward Scissorhands” for the first time enjoy it.”

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Ryder also gushed over the opportunity to revisit the beloved story and her[ young co-star. “It was a pretty special thing to be able to revisit again,” she told Vanity Fair. Of Chalamet, she said that he was “really the perfect person to embody that character.” It seems the admiration was mutual, as Chalamet told Vogue “working with Winona was a total dream come true.”

Though Johnny Depp is the central figure linking this odd family drama together, he himself did not appear within the commercial’s narrative. The star has been embroiled in a lengthy, complicated domestic abuse court case in which accusations and evidence of abuse from both Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard were shown in court. Though the case has ultimately opened up broader debate, the charges against Depp were found to be true, and he has faced major career consequences, including being dropped from the Fantastic Beasts franchise.

— Staff Writer Sara Komatsu can be reached at sara.komatsu@thecrimson.com

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