Why did Leonardo DiCaprio not want to be part of ‘Titanic’?
Director James Cameron revealed DiCaprio didn’t initially want to star in Titanic, but what a great decision it turned out to be.
This is the year that marks the 25th anniversary of the release of ‘Titanic,’ and esteemed director James Cameron recently revealed that lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio wasn’t initially convinced of the movie’s potential. The 1997 movie went on to become the highest-grossing movie of all time.
How DiCaprio didn’t want Titanic role
In an interview with People Magazine in early January, ‘Titanic’ director James Cameron revealed how he had to persuade DiCaprio to take the role of Jack.
“He didn’t want to do a leading man,” said Cameron. “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.
“It didn’t surprise me, first of all, that he’s made a lot of authentic choices going forward. And secondly, I never doubted his talent.”
“There was our Jack!” Cameron on DiCaprio
At the time, DiCaprio wasn’t the movie star he is today, starring in films like ‘The Quick and the Dead’ and Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo + Juliet.’ His role in ‘Titanic’ would become one of the most memorable and defining roles in his career. Cameron also revealed that DiCaprio didn’t even want to audition for the role, and that he had to make sure he gave a compulsory reading test for the role.
“Leo went in and just knocked it out of the park,” Cameron explained. “The moment I said ‘action,’ he turned into Jack. My jaw hit the floor, Kate’s jaw hit the floor, and all of the sudden, there was our Jack.”
Kate Winslet’s Titanic role
The director also said that he doesn’t believe ‘Titanic’ would have been the film it was without the presence and chemistry of the two leading stars, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. And her casting as Rose was more natural, Cameron explained in a Paramount-produced ‘Titanic’ reflections video interview.
“We were looking at all the young actresses, up and coming, and Kate’s name kept coming up,” he said.
Producer Jon Landau also added: “We set up, truly, an old-fashioned screen test. And when I say old-fashioned, we found a period set, and we put them in costume. And coming out of that, there was no question in our mind that Kate Winslet was the right person to play Rose.”