James Cameron is sharing some surprising details from the making of his blockbuster hit “Titanic,” which celebrates 25 years since its release next month.
In a new video interview with GQ, the iconic director revealed that he almost didn’t end up casting Leonardo DiCaprio or Kate Winslet – his two romantic leads whose careers as major Hollywood movie stars were cemented by the landmark Oscar-winning film. Had gone.
When considering actors to play their star-crossed lovers on the doomed ocean liner, Cameron explained that he was initially thinking of someone like Gwyneth Paltrow for Rose, and while Winslet was being considered as an alternative When she proposed in the U.S., he feared she was too typecast.
“I really hadn’t seen Kate before,” he said in the video. “She also did a few other historical plays, and was getting a reputation as ‘Corset Kate’ doing historical things.” (It’s true that “The Reader” actress also had three credits on period costume dramas before “Titanic” — “Sense and Sensibility” in 1995, followed by “Jude” and “Hamlet” a year later.)
Cameron further stated that he feared that casting Winslet in the role was “going to look like the laziest casting in the world”, but he nevertheless agreed to meet her in the end. Of course, he thought she was “fantastic” and the rest is history.
With DiCaprio, meanwhile, there were some teething troubles.
After an initial “hysterical” meeting with the heartthrob actor, in which all the women in the production office somehow ended up in the conference room with Cameron, DiCaprio was invited back to screen test with Winslet, who at the time was already Was cast. ,
But when the “Romeo + Juliet” star arrived, he was shocked to learn that he would have to read lines and be filmed with Winslet in order to gauge their chemistry on camera.
“He came in, he thought it was another meeting to meet Kate,” Cameron described.
He recalled the pair saying, “We’ll just play some lines, and I’ll video it.”
But then DiCaprio—who by then had led several films and received an Oscar nomination for 1993’s “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”—informed Cameron, “You mean I’m reading? … I’m not. reads,” meaning that he no longer presented to audition for film roles.
Losing nothing, Cameron extended his hand to the star and said to her, “Okay, thanks for coming.”
The director then explained to DiCaprio the enormity of the project before him, how the film was going to take two years out of his life, and how he was not going to “mess it up by making the wrong casting decisions.”
“So you’re going to read or you’re not going to do the part,” Cameron said he told the young actor.
DiCaprio reluctantly submitted his credits.
Cameron recalled how the actor “lit up” and “became Jack,” creating an electric chemistry with Winslet later evident in the film itself.
“Titanic” opened in theaters on December 19, 1997, and eventually won 11 Academy Awards for Cameron, including Best Director.