Leonardo DiCaprio has embodied numerous memorable characters all through his profession, however when it comes right down to it, none are maybe as globally iconic as his main function in a little-known film known as Titanic.
Leo and Kate Winslet starred within the 1997 blockbuster as Jack and Rose, and their stellar performances shortly solidified them as some of the recognizable onscreen duos in cinema historical past.
Nevertheless, in line with their director, the pairing was near being scrapped.
Sitting right down to retrace the behind-the-scenes magic of a few of his most iconic titles with GQ this week, James Cameron recalled the contentious casting course of for Titanic.
First off, the filmmaker defined that hiring Kate for the main half was a no brainer and occurred “pretty early on” within the seek for their stars.
Regardless of having initially thought-about Gwyneth Paltrow for Rose, Kate got here in and gave a “incredible” audition, immediately bagging herself the gig.
As for her costar, the method wasn’t such clean crusing, when you’ll excuse the pun.
With Kate firmly on board, the seek for Jack was underway, and having not too long ago scored his first Oscar nomination for What’s Consuming Gilbert Grape in 1994, Leo was up.
James recalled his first assembly with Leo and mirrored on the inevitable buzz across the younger film star.
“I’m sitting in my convention room, ready to satisfy an actor, and I go searching and all the ladies from the whole workplace are within the assembly,” he stated with amusing. “They simply all needed to satisfy Leo. It was hysterical.”
Unsurprisingly, Leo’s first assembly was a roaring success, with James saying that he “charmed” all people, himself included. Nevertheless, this wasn’t fairly sufficient to seal the deal.
Earlier than they may supply him the half, Leo must workforce up with Kate for a display take a look at, which is the place issues received somewhat difficult.
“He got here again a few days later, and I had the digicam set as much as document the video,” the director recalled. “He didn’t know he was going to check. He thought it was one other assembly to satisfy Kate.”
At this level, James stated that Leo refused to learn with Kate, almost bringing the audition to an abrupt ending.
“I stated, ‘Okay, we’ll simply go within the subsequent room, and we’ll run some traces and I’ll video it.’ And he stated, ‘You imply, I’m studying?’ I stated, ‘Yeah.’ He stated, ‘Oh, I don’t learn,’” James remembered. “I shook his hand and stated, ‘Thanks for coming by.’”
Wanting to get the half, the sudden dismissal shook Leo and prompted him to rethink, asking: “Wait, wait, wait. If I don’t learn, I don’t get the half? Identical to that?”
In response, James set the document straight, making it clear that Leo wouldn’t be allowed to chop corners if he needed to be forged.
“‘Oh, yeah. Come on. It is a large film that’s going to take two years of my life, and also you’ll be gone doing 5 different issues whereas I’m doing post-production,’” he informed the actor. “‘So, I’m not going to fuck it up by making the incorrect resolution in casting. So, you’re going to learn, otherwise you’re not going to get the half.’”
Leo agreed to the display take a look at, however apparently wasn’t overly enthusiastic — till the cameras began rolling.
“So he is available in, and he’s like each ounce of his total being is simply so destructive — proper up till I stated, ‘Motion.’ Then he was Jack,” James stated of the display take a look at. “Kate simply lit up, and so they performed the scene. Darkish clouds had opened up, and a ray of solar got here down and lit up Jack. I’m like, ‘All proper. He’s the man.’”
After all, you don’t want us to inform you that he clearly made the appropriate resolution, with Leo and Kate’s palpable onscreen chemistry serving to launch the film to stratospheric ranges of success.
Trying again on his alternative, the Academy Award winner mirrored on how “fragile” the casting course of may be, and the way it can outline the success of a film, together with the remainder of an actor’s profession.
“You attempt to think about that film with out Leo or Kate, it’s very laborious to do,” James stated, acknowledging that on the time Leo was forged, the film had been barely out of his consolation zone.
He stated that Leo — who was 21 when Titanic was shot — had been keen to offer Jack’s character a extra difficult edge, saying that he’d even steered they alter the script to offer him “some affliction” and a “traumatic factor from the previous.”
Nevertheless, James felt this wasn’t obligatory and proceeded to offer him some pointers to assist him execute the efficiency in a extra refined method.
“I stated, ‘Look, you’ve completed all these nice characters that each one have an issue, whether or not it’s dependancy or no matter it’s…you’ve gotta learn to maintain the middle and never have all that stuff,’” he informed Leo. “‘You then’ll be prepared for this,’” he added.
This was apparently a significant turning level for the actor and in the end helped him to grasp the function.
“The second I stated that, it clicked for him that this was a very laborious, difficult movie for him,” James recalled. “[Leo] didn’t need one thing that was straightforward, he needed one thing that was laborious, and that’s been his intuition since then.”