To find a young actor for the role of Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker, director John Waters bought thirty dollars worth of teen magazines, all of which showed Johnny Depp of 21 Jump Street (1987) on the cover. Depp thought the script was funny and strange, and took the offbeat role to avoid being typecast as a television teen idol.
Originally, the square's show at the beginning was going to feature a child contortionist. The scene was filmed in its entirety with the contortionist, but the scene was later cut for the premiere. The contortionist was at the premiere, but no-one had thought to tell her that they cut her scene.
The original Broadway production of "Cry-Baby" opened at the Marquis Theater in New York City on April 24, 2008, ran for 68 performances, and was nominated for the 2008 Tony Awards for the Best Musical, Book, and Score.
Like the successful "Hairspray", this John Waters movie was turned into a Broadway musical, with all new songs. Unfortunately, it ran for just under two months (April 24 to June 22, 2008). John Waters was involved as creative consultant.
Due to the huge success of Hairspray (1988), John Waters got offers from all the big studios to finance his next movie. The budget for this movie was twelve million dollars, while Hairspray (1988) was made for 2.5 million dollars.
Though the actors and actresses were supposed to be playing High School teenagers, none of Cry-Baby's group was of high school age. Johnny Depp was 26, Ricki Lake and Traci Lords were both 21, Kim McGuire was 34, and Darren E. Burrows was 23. Amy Locane was the only one of High School age at 18.
In a scene where Wanda offers Cry-Baby alcohol while driving, he says "I don't drink and drive". This is ironic, seeing as Amy Locane, who plays Alison, was involved in a fatal motor vehicle collision, in which she was sentenced to three years in prison, and was released in 2015.
This movie, Serial Mom (1994), Pecker (1998), and Hairspray (1988) are avaliable on both DVD and Blu-ray. These four are more or less considered "mainstream" films in a genre best described as "camp comedy". His other movies, such as Pink Flamingos (1972) and Packers are intentional "trash" films that have gained a cult following, but are only avaliable on standard DVD.