Leonardo DiCaprio’s casting in the iconic film Titanic was nearly jeopardized, according to recent revelations by James Cameron.
In 1998, the captivating tale of Titanic unfolded on the silver screen, inspired by the real-life tragedy of the British RMS Titanic in 1912. DiCaprio, now 48 years old, portrayed the character of Jack Dawson, while his love interest, Rose DeWitt Bukater, was played by Kate Winslet, aged 47. However, in an interview with GQ, the 68-year-old Canadian filmmaker Cameron disclosed that DiCaprio almost missed out on the role due to his initial refusal to read lines with Winslet.
Reflecting on that fateful moment, Cameron shared, “He was unaware that he was going to audition. He came in thinking it was just another meeting with Kate. And I said, ‘Alright, let’s go to the next room and run some lines, and I’ll capture it on video.'” DiCaprio, who was just 23 years old at the time, responded, “You mean I’m reading?” to which Cameron replied, “Yeah.”
Unexpectedly, DiCaprio declared, “Oh, I don’t read.” Cameron, shaking his hand, simply replied, “Well, thanks for coming by.” The blunt dismissal seemed to jolt DiCaprio’s confidence, prompting him to ask, “Wait, wait, wait. So, if I don’t read, I don’t get the part, just like that?”
Cameron responded emphatically, saying, “Oh yeah, come on. This is a colossal movie. It will consume two years of my life, while you’ll be off doing five other projects. I won’t risk ruining it by making the wrong casting decision. So, you either read or you won’t get the part.”
Reluctantly, DiCaprio agreed to read for the role, but his demeanor exuded an air of negativity when he entered the room. However, as Cameron recounted, “Right up until I said, ‘Action,’ and then he turned into Jack.” The transformation was remarkable. DiCaprio’s presence illuminated the room, and as he shared the scene with Winslet, a profound chemistry emerged. Cameron vividly described the experience, saying, “Dark clouds had opened up, and a ray of sunlight came down, illuminating Jack. I thought, ‘Alright, he’s the guy.'”
Despite Cameron’s initial inclination to let DiCaprio go, he later admitted that it is incredibly challenging to imagine anyone else embodying the characters of Jack and Rose in the romantic masterpiece. Reflecting on the possibility, Cameron confessed, “You try to envision that movie without Leo or Kate. It’s exceedingly difficult to do.”