Leonardo DiCaprio Was Told To Leave An Audition After He Refused To Read Lines For The Role

Leonardo DiCaprio was expecting an offer for a major script that made billions at the box office, but instead, he was asked to read for the role.

Nowadays, Leonardo DiCaprio is worth a fortune. Heck, he made $5 million for a single day of work shooting a commercial overseas. His stardom took place many years ago, in fact, the actor was already a major star before Titanic, taking on significant roles with complex scripts.

As we’re going to reveal in the following, DiCaprio had his doubts about taking on Titanic. At the start, he wasn’t sure about taking on the lead of Jack. In addition, James Cameron grew sour on his star after he refused to read for the role. We’ll take a closer look at all the controversy involved behind the scenes, and how the director and star actor were finally able to make things work.

Leonardo DiCaprio Needed Convincing Before He Accepted The Role In Titanic

James Cameron, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet
Via Paramount Pictures

Released back in 1997, Titanic was a monster hit at the box office, bringing in $2.257 billion. Despite the success, things were up in the air behind the scenes. The film had a massive budget of $200 million, while frequent reshoots took place. At one point in time, the word was that the film was plagued. However, things took a turn once it got its anticipated released with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in the leading roles.

DiCaprio wasn’t sure of the film at the start. At that point in his career, DiCaprio was thriving, though he was typically taking on darker roles and scripts that he found to be more complex. For that reason, Cameron stated that the actor felt indifferent at the start.

The director tells Variety, “He didn’t want to do a leading man,” Cameron said. “I had to really twist his arm to be in the movie. He didn’t want to do it. He thought it was boring. [He] accepted the part only when I convinced him that it was actually a difficult challenge.”

Although Leo agreed to meet for the role, things took a turn when he realized he had to read for the part.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet from the set of TitanicVia: Instar

DiCaprio blew everyone away during the meeting and that was to be expected. The actor was very charming during his first encounter with James Cameron but as it turns out, the room was a lot more filled that it should have been. According to Cameron, a lot of the employees were eager to meet DiCaprio.

Cameron reveals, “There was a meeting with Leo and then there was a screen test with Leo,” Cameron said. “The meeting was funny because I am sitting in my conference room, waiting to meet an actor. And I look around, and all the women in the entire office are in the meeting. They all wanted to meet Leo. It was hysterical,” he tells Variety.

Things were left off between the two sides on a positive note, however, it all took a turn during their next meeting when a camera was set up, and Leo was asked to read lines. DiCaprio thought he was going to be offered the role and wasn’t anticipating such a twist. After he refused to read, Cameron was willing to kick Leo out the door.

Leonardo DiCaprio Wasn’t Aware He Had To Read Lines For Titanic And Almost Left The Audition Because Of It

Leo thought he was meeting Kate Winslet, but that was not the case. Once the actor realized he had to read, the mood quickly changed.

Cameron reveals, “He came back a couple of days later, and I had the camera set up to record the video,” Cameron said. “He didn’t know he was going to test. He thought it was another meeting to meet Kate. So I said, ‘Okay, we’ll just go in the next room, and we’ll run some lines and I’ll video it.’ And he said, ‘You mean, I’m reading?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Oh, I don’t read.’ I shook his hand and said, ‘Thanks for coming by.’”

DiCaprio wasn’t pleased that he was basically being brushed aside so easily for simply not reading the script. Cameron told the actor that he simply couldn’t commit without him reading given what a giant project it was going to be, and the fact that Cameron was going to spend two years on it. Ultimately, DiCaprio decided to read, but he wasn’t pleased about it. Nonetheless, DiCaprio brought it together and did a fantastic job.

“So he comes in, and he’s like every ounce of his entire being is just so negative — right up until I said, ‘Action.’ Then he turned into Jack,” Cameron concluded. “Kate just lit up, and they played the scene. Dark clouds had opened up, and a ray of sun came down and lit up Jack. I’m like, ‘All right. He’s the guy.’”

The rest is history and the two would go on to make an iconic film together.


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