James Cameron Almost Saw No Hope In Hiring Leonardo DiCaprio In Cult Classic

DiCaprio’s unwillingness to do one thing for his movie with Cameron almost cost him his Hollywood legend status.

From a visionary to a creative genius, there are many adjectives that fans and the industry use to describe filmmaker James Cameron. Despite so many outstanding and culturally impactful projects under his belt, his 1997 film Titanic may be his magnum opus because it has stood the test of time to be hailed as one of the most iconic films of all time.Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in a still from Titanic

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in a still from Titanic

Naturally, the critical and commercial phenomenon in the film industry has a lot of tales that are associated with the production of this project, including the chance casting of Leonardo DiCaprio as the main male lead of the film. In fact, the star had to almost change his entire approach toward his performances pertaining to casting auditions and line rehearsals, otherwise, he could’ve kissed this opportunity goodbye forever.

James Cameron Had No Wish To Cast Leonardo DiCaprio In Titanic If He Didn’t Read His Lines

James Cameron, Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio on the sets of Titanic
James Cameron, Kate Winslet, and Leonardo DiCaprio on the sets of Titanic

The prestige and influence of a young and upcoming actor along with being a heartthrob in the industry is something that Leonardo DiCaprio of all people understands with great detail. Still considered to be one of the best and most celebrated actors in Hollywood, his name is enough to make productions draw contracts associating him with a film project without a second thought.

But when it came to Titanic, James Cameron wanted only the best actors that could play the role of Jack Dawson the way he envisioned it, which meant looking past the popularity and influence of the star. This is exactly what happened when DiCaprio met with the filmmaker to decide whether he could play the role or not.

In a past interview with GQ, the Avatar director revealed how when asked to perform the lines of Jack in front of him, The Revenant star revealed that he doesn’t do that for any of his roles. Hearing this, Cameron extended his hand for a handshake and said that he could leave. He said:

“He didn’t know he was gonna test. He came in, thinking it was another meeting to meet Kate [Winslet], and I said ‘We’ll just go into the next room and we’ll run some lines and I’ll video it,’ and he said ‘You mean I am reading?’. I said ‘Yeah!’, and he said ‘Oh! I don’t read.’ And I said ‘Well,’ and I shook his hand, I said ‘Thanks for coming by.’”

Since this was a gigantic project for the time, the director would be spending almost two years of his life on it, which meant he couldn’t hire any star with prestige if he wasn’t the right fit for it. In the end, DiCaprio complied and changed his approach to rehersals, and the rest is history.

Why Titanic Is An Icon In Cinema History?

A still from Titanic
A still from Titanic

The film is quoted by many to be the most exceptional love story brought to life on the screen, but Titanic as a cinematic experience is so much more than that.While the story was simple enough, it was executed with nuance and details that were revolutionary for their time. Along with that, the performances and on-screen chemistry of DiCaprio and Kate Winslet are what made the film so memorable and iconic for the audiences. Bringing such a cultural shift in cinema is why the film went down in history books as one of the best films ever made.

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