Can you believe that James Cameron almost didn’t choose Leonardo DiCaprio or Kate Winslet for the iconic hit Titanic (1997)? Well, that’s one of the most shocking news revealed by the talented director this year!
Ahead of Titanic’s 25 years being released next month, Cameron shared some interesting behind-the-scenes of the blockbuster phenomenon.
“I didn’t see Kate at first”
In a video interview with GQ, from minute 00:27 to 07:46, Cameron spilt the tea that he almost didn’t cast DiCaprio or Winslet for the roles of Rose DeWitt Bukater and Jack Dawson.
When thinking about the line-up for this tragic star-crossed lovers’ story, Cameron initially considered someone like Gwyneth Paltrow for Rose.
Although Winslet was also in his options, Cameron feared it would look like a ‘typical typecast’.
He wasn’t discrediting Winslet’s talent per se. Moreso, he was concerned if it would be a bit stereotypical to have Winslet as Rose since she was getting a reputation as ‘Corset Kate’ for acting in various historical dramas like Sense and Sensibility (1995) and others.
However, when they met after much contemplation and believed “it was going to look like the laziest casting in the world,” he changed his mind.
Cameron said she was ‘fantastic’. Thus, Winslet landed the role of Rose, and the rest was history.
“Leo charmed everybody, me included”
Cameron regarded his first meeting with Dicaprio as ‘hysterical’. Why? All the women in the production office showed up in the conference room along with Cameron! It was when they invited DiCaprio back to screen test with Winslet— Cameron somehow got the gist of where this was going to be.
When Cameron said he would video the pair running some lines from the script, DiCaprio was taken aback by it.
Yet, the director received another blow of surprise when DiCaprio said, “You mean I’m reading? I… I don’t read.”
By then, Cameron knew he would’ve to find a new Romeo. He extended his hand to DiCaprio and told the star, “Well, thanks for coming by.”
Titanic (1997) was a massive project for Cameron
From Cameron’s perspective, DiCaprio didn’t fully understand the weight of this project for them and how this movie would take two years out of their lives. He couldn’t afford to make “the wrong decision in casting.”
Although Cameron already saw the potential in DiCaprio, if the actor didn’t want to read, he won’t be Jack. As simple as that.
Perhaps with the help from above, DiCaprio reluctantly agreed to read.
And that moment, Cameron saw the dark clouds receding as DiCaprio instantly “became Jack” and Winslet too “lit up” the sizzling chemistry between them.
To think about it, how could it not be Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as Jack and Rose to recite the iconic lines, “You jump, I jump”? It’s almost impossible to imagine!
At the end of the interview, Cameron added, “It’s hard to think of someone else as Rose or Jack,” and honestly, we couldn’t agree more.
Titanic (1997) breezed through the theatres on 19 December. Since its release, the movie has garnered 11 Academy Awards. Expectedly, James Cameron also won the best director for this film.