Paramount Pictures announced this morning that the critically acclaimed 1993 film about a brooding teenager, his autistic brother, and a depressed family in small town Iowa What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? will be returning to the silver screen as an action-packed, high-octane, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Johnson will take the helm as Gilbert Grape, originally played by Johnny Depp.
“The original script had the Airstreamer’s Club attacked by terrorists, but after the World Trade Center bombing, that plot was completely scratched,” said returning director Lasse Hallström. “However, I finally convinced Paramount that you can literally put The Rock in a remake of anything and it will be entertaining.”
Kevin Hart will also star as Arnie Grape, Gilbert’s autistic brother. Neither Hart nor Johnson are strangers to bringing their zany, come-what-may, eye-rolling chemistry to improbable and unnecessary rehashes of successful ’90s films.
“Shout out to Paramount and Lasse Hallström for bringing this bad ass, celebrated, and untold story about the Grapes back to the big screen,” Johnson posted on his Instagram page. “I’m PUMPED for the audience to go on this heart-pounding, nonstop, adrenaline-fueled journey through the vagaries of mental illness with me. THANK YOU to all my fans!”
Johnson also noted his extensive level of preparation and research, speaking with individuals suffering from mental illness, meeting with psychologists, and lifting three times a day in order to “find a way to punch mental illness in the face.”
“Yes, there will be a fair share of bad guys whose butts I’ll kick, but we’re also going to be beating up depression, autism, and family issues,” Johnson said. “You name the issue, and I’ll find a way to literally dropkick it through a brick wall.”