How John Waters Championed a New Kind of Beauty

In 1989, filmmaker John Waters, fresh from the success of his musical comedy, Hairspray – which saw the Pope of Trash break through into the mainstream – set about making Cry-Baby, a musical ode to the 1950s and its teenage rebels. Previously accustomed to shooting midnight movies with barely any money, the director was astounded to find himself with a huge budget that could secure him things like “trailers, cranes and giant lights”, as well as an enormous, wonderfully varied cast. Cry-Baby is set in 1950s Baltimore, where teenage high-school students fall firmly into three categories: Squares (rich, preppy, linen-suited and “white” as white can be), Drapes (cool, non-conformist, squeezed into tight trousers or too-small dresses and despised by middle-class society) and Nerds (who don’t get much airtime). The Squares are headed by Baldwin, a smarmy kiss-ass, with a pretty, unsatisfied girlfriend called Allison. The Drapes are led by Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker, played by Johnny Depp in his chiseled prime, an orphaned bad boy, who rides a motorbike, plays the guitar like Elvis, and cries one single teardrop a day. via Another