Darlene Cates Q&A ~19

Actress who played Mama in WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Darlene Cates Q&A ~19

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed May 30, 2007 8:32 am

The scene where Arnie finds Momma upstairs is so powerful. How did either of you manage to get through it?


You would have laughed if you had been there. The first take was a bomb since I jumped a mile when Arnie yelled in my ear! I got ear plugs after that. I was trying so hard not to breathe and was worried about keeping my dress down. lol I am curious....and I want the truth.....did you see me breathe? When I watched the scene the first time I really lost it. I don't even think I can put into words the intense emotion I felt. You know you are playing a part, but you are seeing yourself dead. Really powerful and crazy!
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Unread postby heidi1 » Wed May 30, 2007 9:38 am

We appreciate you doing this interview so much, Darlene. Your answers are so interesting! To answer your question, I have watched this movie so many times, since it is my favorite, and I even did specifically watch for a sign of you breathing during one of my viewings many moons ago. I could not detect you moving, and I marveled at the control you had!

I love your sense of humor! I picture how you must have jumped when Arnie screamed in your ear for the first time, without you expecting it. I wonder what his reaction was. In such a powerful scene, perhaps he could have forewarned you in some way.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed May 30, 2007 9:49 am

Darlene, during one of my viewings of WEGG I watched for signs of breathing as well and didn't detect a one! I'm glad you both could inject some humor in the filming of that scene because it was such an emotional one!
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 Linda Lee » Wed May 30, 2007 10:13 am

I can understand why you jumped when Arnie yelled on the first take, it startled me the first time I watched WEGG. I can only imagine what it sounded like in person. It is a very powerful and emotional scene.
I did not see you breathing in that scene either.
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Unread postby Heather_Hanson » Wed May 30, 2007 10:32 am

Darlene,
Thank you so much for sharing this experience with us. Wow, you really showed true emotion, and made that scene a lot more powerful. Your breathing was fine, and your dress was down :lol: !! Great Job. :cool:
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Wed May 30, 2007 12:01 pm

Cannot wait to watch that scene again and picture you jumping a mile, Darlene! Hilarious! And, yes, you were a perfect dead lady! :-O
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Unread postby ThirdArm » Wed May 30, 2007 1:06 pm

Darlene, I've been enjoying so much this 'conversation' with you.

I have to confess, when I watch movies and there are dead bodies in them, I always look for signing of breathing. You were great! Didn't see a thing. But now when I see WEGG again, I'll think of you jumping when Arnie yells. When I saw that particular scene, it also crossed my mind that it must have been hard to keep your control when the other actor is yelling and screaming at you. :cool:
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Unread postby Liz » Wed May 30, 2007 1:24 pm

I join the ranks of those who always look for the breathing when somone is playing dead. And I made note of the fact that you showed no signs of life, Darlene. I also remember being startled by Leo's performance in that scene. It was rather unnerving. I think for me, not only would I be showing signs of breathing.....I'd be a crying corpse.
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Unread postby Xaxis » Wed May 30, 2007 2:07 pm

I agree... no breath to be seen. No eyelid twitching either, which is amazing. How'd you do that? I've always wondered how you kept your stillness when Leo was so completely in your face. :bawl: :chill: :bawl:
It must be a little chillingly strange to see yourself acting deceased on screen.
I remember that it was only as a child and pretending, did playing dead seem so unemotional, even funny.
Thanks again for sharing your story, Darlene! Love it!! :cool:
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Unread postby suec » Wed May 30, 2007 2:13 pm

Leo certainly made me jump at the time; his voice went right through me. I don't think I would have have liked to have been in your shoes! But it worked, a convincing touch. And I didn't see you breathe either.
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Unread postby Boo-Radley » Wed May 30, 2007 4:56 pm

I haven't committed since the question 1, but I have been reading along as everyday if I can. Darlene I have really enjoyed the time you have spent with us, it has been quite an experience and I will hate for it to end. I said it before, but I just loved your performance as Momma...you were so natural, that's it's hard to believe that WEGG was your first outing as an actress. I also wanted to say, that I love your sense of humour, very cool. Your final scene with Leo, always gets me...and just so you know like everyone else, I never saw you breathe, not even a flutter of your eyelids. :cool: Take care.

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Unread postby gemini » Fri Jun 01, 2007 12:57 pm

This was the most touching scene and one of Leonardos best. I imagine staying still is not as easy as it looks. What this makes me wonder is how long you had to lay there after all the other children come up to pay their respects and sit around you for what seems like most of the night in the film. I am sure there were many takes where you had to lie there playing dead. Those are the parts that you probably remember and the audience forgets.
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