What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
Behind the Scenes

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Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp) with his mother.
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Plot
In a town where nothing happens, Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp) has to deal with a lot of things. With a job at a local grocery store, a mentally challenged brother Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio), and an obese mother, Momma (Darlene Cates), Gilbert has his hands full. When Becky (Juliette Lewis) and her mother passes through the town, Gilbert falls in love with Becky but her family soon has to leave.

Leo landing the role
Prior to auditioning, Leonardo DiCaprio was given a videotape of what they wanted the character, "Arnie" to act like, and DiCaprio said he used the tape as a guide for his audition.
"His gaze became different when he did the reading, I was amazed by it. It was almost as if he had gone somewhere else."
--Director Lasse Hallstrom on DiCaprio's audition


Arnie Grape (Leonardo DiCaprio) always seems to get in trouble.
Preparation for the role "Arnie"
After landing the role, DiCaprio did some research so that he could make Arnie more believable. He went to homes for mentally disabled children and observed their actions."And after he cast me I just went to a home and I got ten kids with disabilities to make this crystal clear how I was going to do this but not set too many rules because Arnie had to be really spontanious.", DiCaprio said in an interview.


Arnie Grape (Leonardo DiCaprio) with a grasshopper.
Grasshopper Incident
In the film, while playing Arnie Grape, DiCaprio put a grasshopper in a mailbox and slammed it shut beheading it: "I didn't know I wasn't supposed to kill him. They said put the head in and slam it. So I killed one and that is the take they used. There was a whole bunch of animal rights people on the set to make sure that the grasshopper didn't get its head chopped off, and I didn't know, and they complained. But it was too late when its head was on the floor. But if you think about it, an animal rights person for a dirty little grasshopper?! I mean, that's a bit ridiculous, don't you think? I think they should be helping some homeless people or something..."

Getting Recognized for his work
At age 19, he was said to be the finest actor of his generation. DiCaprio was awarded Best Supporting Actor nominations for both the Oscars® and the Golden Globes® for his role as the mentally challenged boy.

Just to be alongside the people that I'm alongside is amazing, I mean Malkovich and Tommy Lee Jones are like my favourite actors."
--Leonardo DiCaprio talking about the other nominees for Best Supporting Actor

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