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What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) Poster

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Leonardo DiCaprio said that playing Arnie Grape was "the most fun I've ever had."
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Johnny Depp felt bad about having to ridicule Darlene Cates' character, "Momma," and would often apologize to her after shooting. Depp once said to Cates, "Man, I want you to know how much I hated having to say those things about you, or about your character."
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When getting into character, Leonardo DiCaprio remarked of it, "I had to really research to get into the mind of somebody like that. I spent a few days at a home for mentally retarded teens. We just talked and I watched their mannerisms. People have these expectations that mentally retarded children are really crazy, but that isn't so. It's refreshing to see them, because everything's so new to them."
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Leonardo DiCaprio created Arnie's trademark flicking his finger against his nose, describing it as a sort of "brain wipe...like Arnie is massaging the inside of his brain."
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During the scene where Darlene Cates (Momma) climbed the staircase, she climbed only the first two or three steps. This footage was reused to show her climbing the entire staircase. The room that served as her upstairs bedroom was actually a downstairs room.
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Despite the fact that animal protection agents were on-set to monitor the well-being of the grasshopper Arnie decapitates in the letterbox, Leonardo DiCaprio actually ended up killing it, accidentally.
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Darlene Cates had not left her house in five years at the time of the film's release. Some of Bonnie's problems mirrored those in Cates' life, for example, people staring at her, teasing her, and retreating from wide society.
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The picture on the Grapes' refrigerator of a young Bonnie Grape ("Momma") is a real-life picture of Darlene Cates as a young woman.
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Johnny Depp dared Leonardo DiCaprio to sniff a rancid pickled egg, and paid DiCaprio five hundred dollars when he did.
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Director Lasse Hallström picked Johnny Depp to play Gilbert Grape, because of the way he can express so much emotion through his face and eyes.
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Johnny Depp admitted that he got easily irritated by co-star Leonardo DiCaprio during the filming of the movie. In an interview, Depp said, "It was a hard time for me, that film, for some reason. I don't know why. I tortured him (Leonardo DiCaprio). I really did. He was always talking about these video games, you know? I told you it was kind of a dark period... 'No, I will not give you a drag of my cigarette while you hide from your mother again, Leo.'" Depp concluded, "I'd say the absolute truth is that I respect Leo a lot. He worked really hard on that film, and spent a lot of time researching. He came to set and he was ready to work hard and all his ducks were in a row."
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Leonardo DiCaprio played the part of Arnie Grape so well, that when he showed up for the film's premiere, many people were shocked and astonished to learn that the young actor was not actually mentally disabled.
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Mary Steenburgen was the only person confident enough in Leonardo DiCaprio's performance, that she was willing to pay him from her own salary.
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Leonardo DiCaprio really did not bathe during the period in filming when Arnie refused to go near water.
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Johnny Depp wanted to play Gilbert Grape as someone who seems constantly half asleep or half awake--someone numb to the peculiarities in his life. Juliette Lewis completely agreed with his interpretation of the character. Even still, Depp worried he was boring by playing Gilbert so mildly. Lasse Hallström, however, agreed with Lewis, and thought that Depp nailed the part.
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Lasse Hallström admitted that a lot of himself is reflected in Gilbert Grape's character.
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Leonardo DiCaprio chose to do this movie over Hocus Pocus (1993).
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Arnie Grape originally was not supposed to be such a big character in the movie as he is, Leonardo DiCaprio turned Arnie into this really happy, excited character, and really made Arnie stand out, and stole the show.
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Lasse Hallström picked Juliette Lewis on the basis of her authentic teenage performance in Cape Fear (1991). Peter Hedges thought she knew Becky's character so well, she could have written her better than he did.
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Martin Scorsese first became aware of Leonardo DiCaprio after seeing him in this film one night when watching TV. He had been also been told about him by his friend and frequent collaborator Robert DeNiro, who worked with DiCaprio on This Boy's Life (1993). Scorsese and DiCaprio would later go on to work together on five films, starting with Gangs Of New York (2002).
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Darlene Cates was chosen for the part of Bonnie Grape after a Casting Director contacted the Sally Jessy Raphael (1983) show, and was sent a tape of her appearance as a guest a few months earlier.
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Writer Peter Hedges based Bonnie on a woman he used to know when he was growing up in Iowa.
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This film marks the first Oscar nomination for Leonardo DiCaprio. It was also the film's sole nomination.
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The movie that the family watches on television, is Indiscretion of an American Wife (1953), starring Montgomery Clift and Jennifer Jones, and directed by Vittorio De Sica.
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Leonardo DiCaprio and John C. Reilly also appeared together in Gangs of New York (2002) and The Aviator (2004).
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The house, which served as the interior of the Grape residence, was also the set of Roadie (1980).
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The cast includes two Oscar winners, Leonardo DiCaprio and Mary Steenburgen; and three Oscar nominees, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Depp, and John C. Reilly.
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Crispin Glover and Mary Steenburgen were in the Back to the Future trilogy. Glover played George McFly in Back to the Future (1985), while Steenburgen played Clara Clayton in Back to the Future Part III (1990).
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John C. Reilly and Crispin Glover both appeared together in 9 (2009), where Reilly played 5, and Glover played 6. They also appeared together in an episode of Drunk History (2007), where Reilly played Nikola Tesla, and Glover played Thomas Edison.
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The Grape Family Truck is 1968 Ford F100.
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Johnny Depp and Crispin Glover also appeared in Dead Man (1995) and Alice in Wonderland (2010).
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John C. Reilly and Mary Steenburgen both appeared together in Step Brothers (2008), where Reilly played Dale Doback, and Steenburgen played his stepmother, Nancy Huff.
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In the opening monologue, Gilbert says that his youngest sister Ellen just turned fifteen, but then goes on to say that their father died seventeen years ago, making it seem impossible for Gilbert and Ellen to have had the same father. In the book, however, Ellen's age has just turned sixteen, and it's made clear that her mother was pregnant with her when the Grape father died. Peter Hedges, who wrote the screenplay and the novel, states that the line was changed without his knowledge to reflect the age of the actress playing Ellen.
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