Titanic director James Cameron reveals Leonardo DiCaprio was barely cast as Jack

Titanic director James Cameron has revealed that Leonardo DiCaprio was almost never cast as Jack Dawson in the 1997 blockbuster because he wouldn’t have read the part at first.

The Oscar-winning romantic epic helped cement the Hollywood actor’s international star status alongside co-star Kate Winslet, who played his love interest Rose DeWitt Bukater.

In an interview with GQ magazine, Cameron, 68, discussed how the classic pairing almost didn’t happen and how DiCaprio, now 48, wanted a challenge with the role.

He said there was a first meeting with DiCaprio where he “charmed everyone”.

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Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (Zak Hussein/PA)

“The meeting was funny because I was sitting in my conference room waiting to meet an actor, wasn’t it? And I looked around and all the women in the whole office were in the meeting, for some reason,” he said.

“Like, there’s a female executive producer, OK, fine. But our accountant? Why is she in the meeting? They all just wanted to see Leo, it was hysterical.

“I looked around and said, ‘I think I know the answer to the question here’.

“So Leo came in, of course, charmed everyone, myself included, and I said, ‘Okay, let’s see what your chemistry is like with Kate’.”

Cameron said DiCaprio arrived a few days later but didn’t realize he was there to do a demonstration and was opposed to the idea.

The director recalls the actor telling him, “Oh, I didn’t read,” Cameron said he responded by shaking hands and thanking him for his time.

When DiCaprio saw a missed opportunity, Cameron said the Romeo + Juliet star asked, “Wait, wait. You mean, if I hadn’t read it, I wouldn’t have understood that part, right?”

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Cameron later explained to DiCaprio the importance of the role, saying, “This is a huge movie that’s going to take two years of my life and you’re going to have to do five other things, while I do post-production and all chief. modeling work and everything.

“So I’m not going to spoil it by making the wrong decision when casting, so you either read or you don’t get the part.”

The director said that when DiCaprio started auditioning, “everything in his entire being was very negative” until Cameron said “act”, and then the actor transformed into the character.

He added: “Kate just lit up and they went into this whole thing and he did the scene. “The dark clouds cleared, a ray of sunlight came down and lit up Jack. I was like, ‘Okay, he’s the guy’.

Cameron also recalled how DiCaprio came back to him after being given suggestions for the script, saying he wanted “some affliction or problem or some past grief” for him. his character.

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James Cameron (Faith Paul/PA)

Cameron said he told the star, “Look, you’ve played all these great characters that all have problems, whether it’s addiction or whatever. You have to learn how to stay centered and not have all that.

“This is not Richard III. When you can do what (actors) Jimmy Stewart or Gregory Peck did – they just stand there, not limping or stuttering or anything – then you’re good to go.

“But I think you are not ready because what I am saying is actually much harder. Those are easier, it’s props, it’s crutches.

Cameron said DiCaprio then understood it was going to be a “really tough, challenging movie for him,” which is what he wanted.

“You want the actors to love you, you want them to be in your movie, you want them to say yes, so you make everything sound appealing,” he said.

“But he didn’t want something easy. He wants something tough. And that’s been his instinct ever since and it led to things like The Revenant, right?

“You don’t get any harder than that. He knows how to chart a career, he just doesn’t know exactly what to do in that moment.”

The director also revealed that Winslet was cast first but admitted that she almost didn’t get the role because he thought it would be “the laziest actor in the world”, because during this period she had acted in a number of historical films and was promoted give this nickname. Kate’s cardigan.

He said he initially thought someone like Gwyneth Paltrow would be a better fit for the role, but met Winslet and found her “wonderful”.

Titanic won a series of Oscars in 1998, including Best Picture and Best Director for Cameron.

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/titanic-director-james-cameron-reveals-leonardo-dicaprio-almost-not-cast-as-jack-42166731.html Titanic director James Cameron reveals Leonardo DiCaprio was barely cast as Jack

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