James Cameron reveals why Leonardo Di Caprio almost didn’t get cast in Titanic

James Cameron Titanic header20th Century Studios

James Cameron revealed that Leonardo Di Caprio’s “negative” attitude during the casting process for Titanic almost cost him the role.

In a recent interview with GQ, acclaimed director James Cameron spoke about his upcoming film, Avatar: Way of the Water, as well as chatting about his career and backlog of work. One such film that was discussed was Titanic, a film that has now become one of the highest-grossing and most beloved movies of all time.

First released in 1997, James Cameron’s Titanic centers on a whirlwind romance that takes place on the iconic ship, the film then taking a tragic turn in the second half, and the love story between Jack and Rose ending in heartbreak.

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And while a large part of the success of that film is due to the fantastic chemistry and performances of both Kate Winslet and Leonardo Di Caprio, the latter of the two almost lost the role due to a less-than-perfect first impression.

“So Leo came in, of course, charmed everybody, myself included, and I said ‘alright, let’s see what your chemistry’s like with Kate.’ So he comes in a couple of days later… he didn’t know he was gonna test. He came in, he thought it was another meeting to meet Kate. And I said ‘okay, so we’ll just go in the next room and we’ll just, we’ll run some lines and I’ll video it.” And he said, ‘you mean I’m reading?’, and I said ‘Yeah!’ And he said, ‘oh, I don’t read,’ and I said well, I shook his hand, and said ‘well, thanks for coming by.’”

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Cameron then went on to explain that – while Di Caprio appeared to have a “negative” energy about him, he was quick to transform into the character during the scene and win over the minds of Winslet and himself.

“So he comes in and he’s like… every ounce of his entire being is just so negative. Right up until I said ‘Action’, and then he turned into Jack. And Kate just lit up, and they went into this whole thing and played the scene… Dark clouds had opened up and a ray of sun came down and lit up Jack. I’m like ‘alright, he’s the guy.’”

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