James Cameron on How Leonardo DiCaprio Almost Didn’t Play Jack in Titanic

Earlier this week, Avatar: The Way of the Water director and screenwriter james cameron sit with QG to talk about his latest film. The acclaimed filmmaker ended up going through all of his movies and revealed behind-the-scenes info on every project he’s done. One of them was, of course, Titanica film that marks both his career and the cinema itself.


Titanic became the highest-grossing film ever made in 1997 and made superstars into leading actors Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. At the time, they probably didn’t know how big it would be, but Cameron certainly knew what kind of project he was setting up. That’s why he had the clear idea that the casting of star-crossed lovers Jack (DiCaprio) and Rose (Winslet) had to be perfect. During the interview, he revealed that he was initially hesitant to call Winslet for an audition, a decision he immediately regretted after seeing her read lines to him. For DiCaprio, however, the casting process got off to a bad start, and the director could easily have done the opposite if Leo hadn’t broken his own rules. Cameron clarifies:

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“So Leo came in, of course, charmed everyone, myself included, and I said ‘All right, let’s see what your chemistry is like with Kate.’ So he arrives a few days later […] he didn’t know he was going to test. He walked in, he thought it was another meeting to meet Kate. And I said ‘Okay, so we’ll just go into the next room and we’ll just, we’ll skip a few lines and I’ll film it.’ And he said, ‘You mean I read?’, and I said, ‘Yeah!’ And he said, ‘Oh, I don’t read,’ and I said well, I shook his hand and I said, ‘Well, thank you for coming.’ »

Titanic again

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Needless to say the Titanic The story could have turned out very differently if DiCaprio hadn’t felt angry with Cameron. As the director continues to tell the story, he reveals that the young actor was so frustrated that the director was unwilling to give him the part right away, that he decided to audition out of spite. . What happened next was magical:

“So he walks in and he’s like…every ounce of his whole being is so negative. Until I said “Action” and then he turned into Jack. And Kate just lit up, and they got into it all and acted out the scene… Dark clouds had opened up and a ray of sunlight came down and illuminated Jack. I’m like ‘Okay, that’s the guy.’

Titanic was, at the time of production, the most expensive film ever made. It held the highest-grossing film title of all time for 12 years, and it was the first to cross the $1 billion mark in ticket sales. Much of that success was down to the unmistakable chemistry between DiCaprio and Winslet, which was to fuel the story for at least over an hour — the sinking sequence doesn’t begin until halfway through the film. The cast also includes Kathy Bates, Billy Zane, Gloria Stuart, Victor Garberand Bill Paxton.

You can watch James Cameron’s full interview below:

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