James Cameron helped Titanic save “a million dollars” by casting short extras

Kayla Harrington
James Cameron Titanic header20th Century Studios

In honor of Titanic being released in 4K, director James Cameron has dishes some BTS secrets including only hiring short extras.

It’s always fascinating when a cultural event can spark another one of the same magnitude and that’s exactly with the Titanic.

The Titanic is known the largest floating shit in 1912, which suffered immense loss after 1,500 of its 2,224 passengers and crew died due to the ship hitting an ice berg. The event loomed so large in history that it spawned a 1997 film adaptation which made $2 billion worldwide.

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Directed by James Cameron, the classic film just got a a 4K remastering that was just released and, while doing promotion for it, Cameron divulged some behind-the-scenes secrets including how the movie saved money by hiring certain extras.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic20th Century Studios

Cameron hired short people to make Titanic feel larger

While sitting down with the Los Angeles Times, Cameron wasted no time breaking down set secrets, some of which had to do with the production saving money.

At the time, Titanic was the most expensive movie ever to be made at $200 million, doubling the former 1994’s True Lies’ budget.

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So, Cameron and his team had to come up creative ways to cut costs and they managed by using seemingly simple methods.

“We only cast short extras so it made our set look bigger,” Cameron explained, “Anybody above 5’8”, we didn’t cast them. It’s like we got an extra million dollars of value out of casting.”

Cameron then recalled how he and his producer Jon Landau compromised with the studio by abandoning a set piece that needed to be tilted three degrees in favor for two different sets: one level for pre-iceberg scenes and a second level that was tilted at six degrees to replicate the sinking of the ship.

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Though it simpled like such a simple deal, Landau revealed the difference it made stating, “We compromised the three degrees and we saved $750,000.”

A limited edition of the 4K remaster also treats fans with movie ideas such as the sheet music for Celine Dion‘s theme song for the film “My Heart Will Go On,” replicas of the boarding pass and ship menus given to passengers, and notes written by Rose to Cal and from Jack to Rose.

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About The Author

Kayla is a TV and Movies Writer at Dexerto. She's huge fan of Marvel (especially if Wanda Maximoff is involved), shows that make you laugh then cry, and any cooking show found on the Food Network. Before Dexerto, she wrote for Mashable, BuzzFeed, and The Mary Sue. You can contact her at kayla.harrington@dexerto.com