Though Depp doesn’t appear in the ad (driving us to wonder about Edward’s ultimate fate), Ryder reprises her role as Kim, now, a hardworking single mom with a mom ‘do, buttoned up in professional attire. Edgar, played by actor Timothée Chalamet (“Call Me By My Name”), is nearly the spitting image of his dad, with all his awkwardness and talents too: he’s a magnet for magnets in science class, punctures a football friends toss at him, and becomes a Michelangelo of meats and veggies at work, where he makes towering lunchtime masterpieces almost too beautiful to eat.
Kim sees how her son’s uniqueness has been dragging him down—but she manages to light him up when she brings home a Cadillac Lyriq, which Edgar joyfully drives sans blade hands thanks to its Super Cruise function.
The spot was directed by David Shane of O Positive, who was behind Super Bowl ads including this year’s mountain quest for Paramount+ and 2020’s Rocket Mortgage spot starring an incongruously bald and feeble-bodied Jason Momoa.
A 60-second ad will run in the game while a 90-second version, seen here, appears online.
The spot is part of a major marketing push GM is putting behind its electric vehicle ambitions as it plans to invest $27 billion toward electric and autonomous vehicle development and launch 30 EVs through 2025. It includes a corporate Super Bowl ad from McCann Worldgroup that was released Feb. 3 and stars Will Ferrell, Kenan Thompson and Awkwafina.
According to Leo Burnett Executive Creative Director Robert Clifton Jr., the brief from GM was to help kickstart Cadillac’s electric vehicle future with an idea that was original, emotionally compelling, visually arresting and delivered on a product proof point.
From there, Global Strategy Director Chris Bridgland says it became clear very quickly that the ad would center on electric crossover Lyriq, equipped with GM’s Super Cruise, billed as the first true hands-free driving-assistance tech. “This focus not only gave us a chance to talk about the EV future of Cadillac, but also lean into a next-generation technology that GM is proudly pioneering while giving our teams ample opportunity to explore creatively," he says.
That exploration led the team to revisiting Tim Burton's iconic character in some way. “The visual impact of seeing somebody drive with their hands off the wheel gave rise to the idea that ended up becoming ‘ScissorHandsFree’—a deeply human story, driven by the Cadillac brand,” Clifton Jr. says.
A crucial step to making the spot happen was getting the talent on board. Leo Burnett Managing Director Emily Shahady says Ryder enthusiastically jumped in and “loved the idea right from the start.” That was key since Director Shane says he “relied heavily on Winona to be kind of the guardian of the movie.”
To play the role of Edgar, the team had their sights set on Chalamet from the outset. “Yes, he’s one of the brightest young stars in Hollywood, but in looking across his performances, we loved his ability to subtly convey emotion and inject interest into characters,” says Clifton Jr. In the pop culture world, when fans have mused about a "Scissorhands" remake, Chalamet has been cited as a favorite for the title role.
And then, there was also bit of Super Bowl serendipity, he adds. “Timothée was recently in a movie with a star who was in one of David Shane’s other hit commercials (“Dune,” with Jason Momoa, star last year’s Rocket Mortgage game day spot). So he was already a David Shane fan.”
To seal the deal with Chalamet, UTA Marketing, which represents GM, brokered the partnership with the actor, a client of UTA.
Shane says there was a fascinating interplay between the two leads. “All actors have their own modes of working, and it’s the director’s job to both honor them but also kind of synthesize them in a way that creates a fluid and safe environment to take chances,” he says. “In my admittedly small sample working with them, Winona is a little more contemplative, and Timothée is maybe a little more instinctive. It was fun to watch them work and they clearly had affection for each other.”
One surprise came when Ryder saw Chalamet in wardrobe and makeup for the first time. “The original was so formative to her, she had a little out of body moment,” Shane says. “It was sweet and fun to observe.”
In recreating the Scissorhands universe, “My unspoken goal the whole time was to try to make sure Tim Burton was cool with what we did in the end,” says Shane. The team “did a deep dive into the world of the original and where we could, got in touch with the people who worked on it to find out the particulars of how they did certain things.”
For example, the sandwich-making scene was “a nod to all those POV shearing and cutting shots in the film,” Shane says. “We knew that those shots were done super low-fi—prop people threw dog hair up into a fan as Edward frantically worked his scissors in front of the camera.” So that’s what the team did—but with food.
Shane was also mindful of creating space for the talent to open up and shine too. "I love the shot where Edgar idly traces the fence with a scissor-finger as he’s walking and gets stuck," Shane says. "Timothée has the grace of a silent movie comedian and I thought it was dope that we could help him show off that side."