Titanic: Leonardo DiCaprio ‘was just so negative’ at his screen test claims James Cameron
Titanic director James Cameron confessed why he almost didn’t cast Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as Jack and Rose.
Titanic, once the highest-grossing movie of all time with $2.2 billion made at the box office, continues to be a much-loved classic 25 years on. Yet as director James Cameron gears up to release Avatar: The Way of Water, the filmmaker has shared how he almost passed on Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as his Jack and Rose.
Speaking with GQ Cameron said of Winslet: “I actually didn’t see Kate at first. She had done a couple of other historical dramas well and she was getting a reputation as ‘Corset Kate’ doing historical stuff.”
The Oscar-winning director admitted he thought it would be lazy casting and thought maybe Gwyneth Paltrow or someone else would be a better fit. However, it all worked out with the filmmaker adding: “I met Kate and she was just fantastic.”
This was pretty early on, but when it came to casting Leo as Jack, he was prepared to let him go rather than compromise the young actor’s demands.
Cameron continued: “There was a meeting with Leo and then there was a screen test with Leo. 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!”
The Titanic director said how Leo charmed everyone and so invited him back with Kate to check on their chemistry as Jack and Rose. However, the 21-year-old rising star didn’t get what he was expecting.
The filmmaker added: “He came back a couple of days later and I had the camera set up to record the video. 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?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Oh, I don’t read.’ I shook his hand and said, ‘Thanks for coming, bye.’”
Leo replied: “Wait, wait, wait. If I don’t read, I don’t get the part? Just like that?” Cameron responded, “Oh, yeah. Come on. This is a giant movie that is going to take two years of my life, and you’ll be gone doing five other things while I’m doing post-production and all the model work. So, I’m not going to f*** it up by making the wrong decision in casting. So, you’re going to read, or you’re not going to get the part.’”
Leo reluctantly agreed. Cameron added: “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. 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.’”
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