20 Facts About What’s Eating Gilbert Grape That You Might Have Slept Through

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Image: via Bustle
Image: via Bustle

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape has all the characteristics of an Oscar-winning ’90s film: loss, laughter and some stunning performances. What’s more, the coming-of-age tale set in the American Midwest proved both a breakthrough for Johnny Depp in the role of Gilbert and Leonardo DiCaprio as his mischievous, autistic younger brother.

But aside from on-screen details that we’re almost certain you missed, there are even more behind-the-scenes secrets to be discovered. So read on for some fascinating facts about one of the great movies of its era…

Image: YouTube/John Martin
Image: YouTube/John Martin

20. Darlene Cates was discovered on a talk show

One of the big surprises of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape was the heartfelt performance of amateur actress Darlene Cates. Yet given her expertise at portraying Bonnie, Gilbert and Arnie’s loving yet morbidly overweight mother, it may come as a surprise to learn that Cates had never acted before. In fact, one of the casting directors originally discovered her on Sally Jessy Raphael, talking about her lifelong obesity struggle.

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Image: Paramount Movies via YouTube
Image: YouTube/Paramount Movies

19. In the book, Arnie only has one eye…

Leonardo DiCaprio’s turn as Arnie is the epitome of sweetness: in Peter Hedges’ original novel, though, his depiction is less attractive. Specifically, he only has one eye due to injury. Furthermore, Gilbert, as the book’s narrator, describes him as “having teeth that look confused,” with “no hiding that he’s retarded.” Bit harsh…

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