James Cameron almost didn’t choose Leonardo DiCaprio or Kate Winslet to star in Titanic


James Cameron is sharing some surprising details from the making of his blockbuster “Titanic,” which celebrates its 25th anniversary 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 for the landmark Oscar-winning film.

Although he considered the actors to play the roles of their star-crossed lovers in the doomed liner, Cameron explained that he was initially thinking of someone like Gwyneth Paltrow for Rose, and that although Winslet had been put forward as an option, he feared that she was too much typography.

“I didn’t actually see Kate at first,” he said in the video. “She had also done a couple of other historical dramas and was building a reputation as ‘Corset Kate’ doing historical things.” (It’s true that the three “The Reader” actress’ credits before “Titanic” were also period costume dramas: “Sense and Sensibility” in 1995, followed by “Jude” and “Hamlet” a year later) .

Cameron went on to say that he was afraid that casting Winslet in the role “seemed like the laziest casting in the world”, but that he agreed to meet her in the end anyway. Of course, he thought it was “fantastic,” and the rest is history.

With DiCaprio, meanwhile, there were some initial hiccups.

After an initial “hysterical” meeting with the heartthrob actor, in which every woman in the production office somehow ended up in the conference room next to Cameron, DiCaprio was invited by new for a screen test with Winslet, who had already been cast at the time. .

But when the “Romeo + Juliet” star walked in, he was surprised to learn he would have to read lines and be filmed alongside Winslet to gauge their on-camera chemistry.

“He came in, he thought it was another meeting to meet Kate,” Cameron described.

He recalled telling the pair, “We’re just going to do a few lines and I’ll do it on video.”

But then DiCaprio, who by then had directed several films and earned an Oscar nomination for 1993’s “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” informed Cameron, “You mean I’m reading? . . . I’m not reading.” that is to say, no. more subjected to having to audition for film roles.

Without missing a beat, Cameron reached out to the star and said, “Well, thanks for stopping by.”

The director then explained to DiCaprio the enormity of the project before them, how the film had to take two years out of his life, and how he “wasn’t going to screw it up by making the wrong casting decision.” ”

“So you’re either going to read or you’re not going to get the part,” Cameron said he told the young actor.

DiCaprio reluctantly came forward, to his credit.

Cameron recalled how the actor “lighted up” and “became Jack”, creating an electric chemistry with Winslet that was later clearly seen in the film itself.

“Titanic” hit theaters on Dec. 19, 1997, and eventually won 11 Academy Awards, including Best Director for Cameron.

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