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'Gilbert Grape' at 20: When Johnny met Leo...

One of the downsides of living in a movie landmark with a half-mile long driveway is that obsessed fans who can’t get a satisfactory peek from the road will occasionally think nothing about rolling up to your front door. Jim Lutz and Alex Carrillo have lived in their 100-year old farmhouse in Manor, Texas, since 1977, raising five children, running a jewelry business, and occasionally lending their rustic home to a movie or television production. But the tourists who come knocking aren’t imposing on their hospitality because of Roadie, the 1980 movie starring Art Carney and Meat Loaf that filmed there. And they aren’t snapping pictures because they loved the season of The Simple Life where Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie swept through. Rather, they’ve driven long distances — some come all the way from Europe — because of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, the 1993 movie that starred Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio.

In hindsight, perhaps one can understand the allure. Twenty years later, Depp and DiCaprio are huge Hollywood stars — one is Capt. Jack Sparrow and the other was the King of the World in Titanic. But Gilbert Grape barely made a ripple in theaters when it opened in December 1993, grossing only $10 million. Despite positive reviews and a prescient Oscar nomination for DiCaprio’s supporting turn as Gilbert’s mentally challenged brother Arnie, the movie was marginalized as “quirky” and endured a failed platform release and uninspired marketing campaign. “It had a terrible log-line: ‘Life is a terrible thing to sleep through,’” laments Grape’s director Lasse Hallström. “Who wants to go see a movie about someone who is sleeping through life?”

But rather than slip into obscurity, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? has grown over time into a beloved gem, not only for its celebrity leading men, but for its enormous heart — best represented by Darlene Cates, the amateur actress who played the boys’ overweight shut-in mother who never recovered from her husband’s suicide. “Gilbert Grape had its revenge as a DVD and a VHS,” says Hallström. “People found it later on and there was a period when you started picking up on the fact that people had seen it over and over again.” Like the one pilgrim to Manor from Tombstone, Ariz., who saw the movie 40 times, felt compelled to visit the Grape house, and ended up hanging around the Lutz farm for a couple of days. “It’s been a real special movie for a lot of people,” says Lutz. READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Gwyneth Paltrow may join Johnny Depp; Plus, Andrew Garfield, Abigail Breslin, more

Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man 3) and Ewan McGregor (The Impossible) are in negotiations to join Johnny Depp‘s Mortdecai. The story follows Charles Mortdecai, an art dealer racing to uncover a Nazi bank account full of gold. The project is expected to start production later this year. [Variety]

99 Homes, a story of a man who loses his home due to foreclosure, has snagged Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man) for the lead role. Garfield’s character will find himself so desperate that he starts working for the man who took his home, going so far as to assist him in illegal activities. [THR]

• Abigail Breslin (The Call) will be returning to the world of the walking dead in Maggie, where she’ll play the titular role — an unfortunate young woman who is infected by a virus that is sweeping the globe. Arnold Schwarzenegger will play her father. [THR]
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'August: Osage County' trailer: Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, and more! -- VIDEO

August: Osage County (out Nov. 8) may well become the year’s fanciest movie about a trashy family. It’s based on Tracy Letts’ hours-long, Pulitizer prize-winning play (which we said was “horrifyingly, deliciously mesmerizing”) and is directed by John Wells from Letts’ adaptation. The cast is stuffed from every angle with talent: Ewan McGregor, Sam Shepard, Abigail Breslin, Juliette Lewis, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Julia Roberts (as the favorite daughter), and Meryl Streep (as the hated mother).

As the film’s first trailer makes clear, Osage County is a Jenga-like drama of family dysfunction, with funerals and divorces piling atop dinner-table conflicts. Roberts is weary. Streep, with a frizz of black hair, has the juiciest role in the play. Edward Sharpe plays in the background.

Is it foolish to admit I’m most excited for Juliette Lewis?

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Casting Net: Jeremy Renner eyeing David O. Russell drama. Plus: Daniel Radcliffe, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Depp

Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks) have signed up to star in The F Word, which sounds much less edgy than its title first implies: It’s an indie romantic comedy about a couple who meet and have great chemistry, but end up trying to just be friends — ergo, the title. Michael Dowse (Goon) is directing from a Black List script by Elan Mastai (The Samaritan). [Variety]

• Juliette Lewis is in talks to join the feature adaptation of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer-winning play August: Osage County, as the dizzy youngest daughter to Meryl Streep‘s hard-hearted family matriarch. Julia Roberts is also set to star as the assertive eldest daughter. John Wells will direct from Letts’ adaptation of his play. [Deadline]

• Sam Claflin (Snow White and the Huntsman) and Emilia Clarke (HBO’s Game of Thrones) will star opposite Karl Urban in Overdrive, a thriller about American car thieves who relocate to France. Antonio Negret (Transit) will direct from a script by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas (Wanted). Claflin is also reportedly in the running for the role of Finnick in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which would likely shoot soon after Overdrive finished production. [Variety]

• Kristen Bell will headline The Lifeguard, about a woman who leaves her job as a reporter in New York City to get her high school job as a lifeguard. Mamie Gummer (CBS’ The Good Wife), Martin Starr (Party Down), Alex Shaffer (Win Win), Josuha Harto (The Dark Knight), and Amy Madigan (Gone Babby Gone) costar. Liz W. Garcia (CBS’ Cold Case) will direct from her screenplay. [Deadline]

As had been reported last week, Johnny Depp has signed up to star in Wes Anderson‘s next feature film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. [Deadline]

Read more:
Casting Net: Anthony Mackie may join ‘Captain America’ sequel as the Falcon. Plus: Richard Jenkins, Vince Vaughn
Daniel Radcliffe to star in supernatural thriller ‘Horns’
‘Catching Fire’ zeroing in on actors for Finnick and Beetee — REPORT

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