Darlene Cates Q&A - #10

Actress who played Mama in WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE

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Darlene Cates Q&A - #10

Unread postby Liz » Wed May 16, 2007 10:45 am

Q: Can you shed some light on how Johnny is on set when working? How he may approach a scene just before shooting or whether he interacts much between takes with the other actors he's sharing a scene with?

A: Johnny was in character from day one. He was Gilbert when I met him. He had the hair, chipped tooth, and wardrobe. I often wondered if I really met Johnny or if it was Gilbert that was so sweet and funny. But when he held my new grandson and whispered, "Awesome", I knew it was Johnny and that someday he would be a great dad, because he understood what a incredible miracle that little boy was. Johnny does have his private side and there were times that he just laid low in his trailer......but then we all did that at times. He did prepare for the scene when he tore up the basement. It was the only one I witnessed him prepare for.
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Wed May 16, 2007 10:49 am

:interesting: :thanks:
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Unread postby Xaxis » Wed May 16, 2007 12:31 pm

Excellent question.
A little method, a little madness and a little bundle of joy. What more could any set ask for!
Thanks, Darlene! :disco:
“Know thyself” and “Nothing to excess” inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi.

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Unread postby Betty Sue » Wed May 16, 2007 1:08 pm

Decided my answer was a bit short. :eyebrow: I though it was interesting that you weren't sure if Johnny was so sweet and funny because he was still being Gilbert or if that was the real Johnny. Johnny admits that, like Gilbert, he was going through a rough time then, and it's so nice to know that, again like Gilbert, he kept his sweet nature. :cloud9: And how perceptive of you to know the real Johnny through his reaction to your little grandson! :angel:
As Xaxis so wisely said, "A little method, a little madness and a little bundle of joy. What more could any set ask for! :disco:
"I never wanted to be remembered for being a star."

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Unread postby nebraska » Wed May 16, 2007 2:39 pm

I think have I read Johnny say that his characters become part of himself, at least while he is working on a movie; in the case of Hunter Thompson, the character lingered a very long time, maybe permanently. The angry scene in the basement was really intense! I wish Darlene had elaborated a bit more on just what Johnny did to prepare for that scene. It would also be interesting to know if his methods of preparing have changed, WEGG was several movies ago.

This is all so interesting! :bounce:

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Unread postby gemini » Thu May 17, 2007 3:05 am

I think she was always with Johnny even when he was Gilbert. Even Johnny says all those characters are in there somewhere. I do agree that it was plain that the awesome remark and the feelings for her grandbaby were real. I think some of the reasons why Johnny had some of his down times were that his romances weren't getting him closer to his own family which I think he always wanted.
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Unread postby SilentMovieEyes » Tue May 29, 2007 7:13 am

I'm with Nebraska, and would also love to hear more details about how Johnny 'prepared' for that explosive basement scene.

Darlene's memory of how Johnny 'became' Gilbert and, more or less, stayed 'in character' on the set is really intriguing stuff. How she wasn't sure if it was Gilbert or Johnny who was so sweet or kind. I'm no actor so this Method acting seems like it could mess with your mind! Lol. All the more reason I truly admire great actors like Johnny who can do this (and maintain sanity).
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue May 29, 2007 8:31 am

Hi, SilentMovieEyes and welcome to ONBC! :welcome: I know Johnny has said that the end of a movie means saying goodbye to the character and that can be difficult. I think his kind and gentle nature shine through even during the bad times. Thanks, Darlene!
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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