Pop Culture | Movies | 90s

7 Facts About 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape' That You Missed While You Were Crying

Watching a movie can end up bringing up a bunch of emotions, but it's almost always completely unexpected.

Sure, you think, "Oh, I may laugh, or feel sad" but some movies go above and beyond and make you feel such intense emotions you don't even understand where they came from.

What's Eating Gilbert Grape is one of those movies that surprised us all with it's heart and made us all sob uncontrollably. The story of a Iowa family who are mourning their dad, dealing with their brother's handicap, and trying to earn enough money even though their mother can't leave the house, ends up completely destroying us all.

What's Eating Gilbert Grape
Paramount Pictures

Gilbert Grape was played by Johnny Depp, and he was responsible for all of his siblings now that his mother couldn't leave the home. He had to try and earn enough money while keeping an eye out for his younger brother Arnie.

Arnie was played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and his portrayal actually got him his first Oscar nomination. He was able to successfully portray Arnie's autism in a way that captured audience's hearts.

The movie was a lot to take at the time, but there is a lot people don't realize about the classic.

1. Darlene Cates, who played Momma, had never acted before

What's Eating Gilbert Grape
Paramount Pictures

She had previously appeared as herself on an episode of Sally where she discussed the fact that she was unable to leave her own house. She was bedridden for two years and became mobidly obese.

The screenwriter, Peter Hedges, actually saw her on the show and so he offered her the role even though she had no experience as an actress. She had the real world experience and that was all he wanted.

She had actually spent the last five years before the film in her house, unable to leave. But the picture that they used in the movie was actually of her.

2. DiCaprio got in trouble for decapitating the grasshopper

What's Eating Gilbert Grape
Paramount Pictures

He wasn't actually supposed to decapitate it, but he didn't realize that at the time. They actually had animal rights people on set to ensure the creatures safety, but DiCaprio had no idea.

"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."

3. DiCaprio had to choose between this movie and another classic

What's Eating Gilbert Grape
Paramount Pictures

While he obviously made the right choice for his career, it's crazy to think that DiCaprio was supposed to be cast in Hocus Pocus, but he chose this more serious role instead.

4. Depp kept getting irritated by DiCaprio

What's Eating Gilbert Grape
Paramount Pictures

Depp admitted that working with the young actor was a little bit difficult at times, but he knew that he was perfect for the part.

"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.'

"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."

5. DiCaprio spent time with mentally disabled kids to get his character

What's Eating Gilbert Grape
Paramount Pictures

DiCaprio spent a few days with mentally disabled teenagers so he could better understand what they are going through. "We just talked and I watched their mannerisms."

He said that it was "refreshing to see them, because everything's so new to them."

6. Depp felt as though he had to apologize to Cates

What's Eating Gilbert Grape
Paramount Pictures

He felt bad about having to say the mean things to her character so he would often apologize when the cameras were done rolling.

Apparently he would go up to her after and say "I want you to know how much I hated having to say those things about you, or about your character."

7. DiCaprio had a specific reason for his distinctive gesture

Whats Eating Gilbert Grape
Parmount Picture

The little motion he does repeatedly of pushing his finger against his eyes and then nose. He had a reason for doing it though.

"It's like a brain wipe... like Arnie is massaging the inside of his brain. I would stare at something and drift off into another dimension, and then I could do anything spontaneously in any scene because Arnie was completely unpredictable."

The movie was one of the best of the 90s, and managed to bring a lot of us to tears. Do you remember this movie?

Leonardo DiCaprio was starting to get some more serious roles and trying to grow out of his "teen heartthob" phase, and this movie really helped.

This movie may have made us cry, but there are a lot of 90s movies that made us sob uncontrollably. The 90s were rough...

Source - IMDB/ Diply/ Bustle