Darlene Cates Q&A ~ Question #1

Actress who played Mama in WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE

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Darlene Cates Q&A ~ Question #1

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon May 07, 2007 8:22 am

I am so thrilled to get us started this morning by posting the first question of our interview with Darlene Cates! :bounce: She has been so gracious to answer your questions and I know you all are going to find her answers to be informative and touching. Thank you, Darlene! :bouquet:

So without further ado…

1. I would like to ask Darlene why she decided to take the role of Momma. Obviously, she shared size with the character, few people had the physical make up to play Momma and there probably aren’t many acting roles for a person of that size. But did she have more motivation than just the co-incidence of size? Did she want to show the world that heavy people are just like everyone else inside, to demonstrate the humanness of someone who was considered a laughing stock? In other words, was did she want to make some sort of statement for all heavy people or was it just an acting job where she happened to fit the part?

I took the role of Momma because I realized I had the opportunity to do something that required stepping out of the box. I was coming out of a deep depression and making changes about the way I viewed the world and being fat. Truthfully, I didn't think about the impact any of it would have on the supersize community. I just knew I wanted and needed the validation that came with doing the role. I wanted people to see MY humanness. I was just beginning to find the realization that my fat didn't define me, yet it was a part of who I am.......just not everything!

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Betty Sue » Mon May 07, 2007 10:26 am

Well, if validation, having the courage to step out of the box, and showing your humanness were your goals, Darlene, you certainly accomplished your goals in spades!! Congratulations! :cool: How wonderful that this opportunity came along when you needed it! And how wonderful for us that you took it! :cloud9:
"I never wanted to be remembered for being a star."

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Unread postby Parlez » Mon May 07, 2007 10:59 am

Dear Darlene ~
It sounds like your motivation is similar to Johnny's ~ personal, and not generated by outside expectations or outside definitions of who you are or what you can and cannot do. Excellent!! :cool:
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa
savvy avi by mamabear

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Unread postby heidi1 » Mon May 07, 2007 11:07 am

:welcome: Thank you so much, Darlene, for particpating in this interview on the Zone. While I enjoyed the book, it was the movie that really made these characters ring true to me. I think that superficial people perhaps just focus on Momma's physical size, but through your characterization, I think her warm heart and depth of love and loyalty to her children came through most of all. So you succeeded in making Momma's size just part of who she was, and as the audience got to know her better as the movie progressed, they realized what a warm, loving, courageous person she was, who only wanted the best for her children. Congratulations on your fine performance, which was so genuine! :thanks!: for stepping outside the box!

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Unread postby Xaxis » Mon May 07, 2007 2:10 pm

Thank you so much for your openess and honesty, Darlene. :cloud9:
:angel: You're such a beautiful angel! :angel:
“Know thyself” and “Nothing to excess” inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi.

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Unread postby Charlene » Mon May 07, 2007 2:18 pm

Thank you Darlene (and DITHOT) for bringing Darlene into our homes). I fell in love with your character in the movie.....I am so glad I did not read the book first. I wanted so much for the character in the book to be like you...but, alas, she wasn't. You, Darlene Cates, help make that movie what it is. I wish we could see more of you on screen. You have a gift.

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Unread postby nebraska » Mon May 07, 2007 2:48 pm

What a wonderful answer! I think the things Darlene said here, about stepping outside the box and making an effort to achieve some sort of validation, are part of the reason that she is an inspiration to us.

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Unread postby Liz » Mon May 07, 2007 3:15 pm

I agree, Nebraska. I think most of us here are those who are willing to step outside of that box. And cheers to you, Darlene, for taking the step.

And I agree that our shape or looks are only a part of who we are. They do not define us. We are so much more. Thank you for sharing that part of you on the screen, Darlene, and for making Momma come alive and for giving her more sensitivity.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Depputysue » Mon May 07, 2007 7:05 pm

Thank you so very much Darlene for taking the time to answer our questions. To agree to share your thoughts and time, I know that you understand our respect, admiration and deep affection for Johnny. Your role in WEGG was pivotal and could not have been played by anyone else. It is one of my abosolute favorite movies and your role is a major part of that!

Bless you, Susan
What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same.
Only love........

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Unread postby gemini » Mon May 07, 2007 7:41 pm

I was just beginning to find the realization that my fat didn't define me, yet it was a part of who I am.......just not everything!

Your last line is great. I think it is very important for everyone to realize just that about weight. It is part of what you are but doesn't define you. You are a perfect example of that statement and even though you didn't plan on it you were an inspiration to many others. Thank you for participating in ONBCs Q&A. And thanks to our trusty leaders DITHOT and LIZ for arranging it.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

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Unread postby Lady Jill » Mon May 07, 2007 8:54 pm

:wave: Thank you, Darlene, so much for coming here to share your thoughts with us about WEGG. It is also my favorite movie, and without you it would have been nothing. You are so brave to get out of your box!

Lady Jill
" After we're gone, the only thing that matters is the love we left behind."

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Unread postby lizabel » Tue May 08, 2007 8:12 am

I just wanted to echo everything everyone has said so far Darlene, you are a brave lady and I do thank you very much for talking so frankly and openly.

If the timing's right and the gods are with you, something special happens. ~Rick Springfield~
17th April 2007-It happened.

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Unread postby Carol Darlin' » Tue May 08, 2007 2:51 pm

I just wanted to say thank you, also, Darlene, for being willing to answer questions here. I know that for many, many of us, What's Eating Gilbert Grape is an absolute favorite and classic movie, and I think it is because of the humanness and depth of the characters, especially yours. You have amazing talent, and your warmth and love and beauty really shine through. This must have been a life-changing experience for you, and we all agree when Johnny says you are the bravest person he knows. Thank you!
"This is the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow...Savvy?"

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Unread postby HeidiGrant40 » Tue May 08, 2007 9:26 pm

I know I'm late saying this but thanks to Darlene for doing this for us.

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Unread postby Boo-Radley » Wed May 09, 2007 12:19 am

I'm very late, but I have to say thank you to you Darlene for taking time out of your life to answer our questions. What's Eating Gilbert Grape, is absolutely one of my favorite films, there are so many moments in it that still get to me after all these years, but in particular Momma's trip into town to get Arnie and her last moment with Gilbert. For me you portrayed the true spirit of what a mother is to her children in those scenes, and that has nothing to do with size. As a plus-sized woman myself, having been thin in my youth, I've always known that who I am has not changed, and I just want to thank you for having the courage to step out of your box, and thank you for doing it.

Live in Depp
"With this hand I will cup your.... Oh goodness no!"~~Victor Van Dort

"The theater is my drug, and my illness is so far advanced that my physic must be of the highest quality."~~John Wilmot

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