25 little-known facts about the movie ‘Titanic’
February 22, 2023
Before passing the role of the male lead to Leonardo DiCaprio, director James Cameron considered casting Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise in “Titanic.”
1. Leonardo DiCaprio was not the only choice for the director for the male lead. In a podcast interview with Rob Lowe, Mathew McConaughey revealed that he was close to getting the part. Additionally, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt were said to be other heavyweight contenders. Titanic made Leo a leading star. He won over the audience with the character of a free-spirited working-class boy, who had a beautiful love story with Rose.
2. The character of Rose was also considered with a number of stars participating in castings, such as Nicole Kidman, Jodie Foster, Cameron Diaz, Sharon Stone, and Gwyneth Paltrow. In an interview with Rolling Stones, Kate Winslet said that she was chosen in part due to her persistence. The actress even told the director that he was “mad” if he didn’t give her the role.
3. The scene where Jack teaches Rose to “spit like a man” was criticized by many as being crude, but it was an improvised scene by the two actors.
4. In the script, Rose was supposed to stab her fiancé Cal (played by Billy Zane) with a hairpin. However, Winslet improvised and decided to spit in his face to create a better effect.
5. In addition to the name Titanic, director James Cameron chose another name, Planet Ice, to avoid the possibility of other studios making a movie about this disaster.
6. The role of Cora Cartmell – the eight-year-old passenger whom Jack adored – was played by Alexandrea Owens. Lindsay Lohan also auditioned for the role but was not selected.
7. On the day of the shooting, more than 50 people, including actors and crew members, were hospitalized after eating a clam chowder that was mixed with a sleeping drug. Leo and Winslet were lucky to avoid treatment. The culprit was suspected to be a former employee of the crew, but there was not enough evidence to arrest him.
8. The underwater scenes of the wrecked ship were actual remains of the Titanic. Cameron dove underwater 12 times to set up these scenes.
9. The paintings that Jack showed to Rose and Rose’s nude portrait were all works of director James Cameron. He also acted as a hand double for Leonardo DiCaprio in the scene where Jack was drawing his lover.
10. Gloria Stewart, who played the old Rose, was the only person in the cast who was alive during the Titanic’s sinking in 1912. At that time, she was only two years old.
11. In the movie, the director had Rose take care of a Pomeranian dog when she was older. He wanted to pay homage to the three Pomeranians that survived the shipwreck.
12. Most of the characters in the film are fictional, but the character nicknamed “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” played by Kathy Bates was based on a real person named Margaret Brown who survived the Titanic.
13. According to records, the Titanic sank at 2:20 am on April 15, 1912. However, in the movie, this happened at 2:15 am.
The film’s theme song “My Heart Will Go On” was composed by James Horner, with lyrics by Will Jeanings, and performed by Celine Dion.
14. Cameron originally only wanted to use instrumental music for the film, but composer James Horner secretly recorded a demo of “My Heart Will Go On” with Celine Dion which moved the director to tears.
15. Cameron spent about 200 million USD to make the movie Titanic. The cost of building the real ship in 1912 was 7.5 million USD. According to Time, adjusted for inflation, the value of the ship was 180 million USD in 1997.
16. In The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2017, Winslet said she suffered from hypothermia during the final scene between Rose and Jack underwater. Prior to that, in the scene where Rose and Jack try to escape the sinking ship, the two actors were constantly hit by strong waves. Kate Winslet’s long coat got wet, making it difficult for her to move, she got stuck in the door and couldn’t get back up to the surface. Kate panicked and struggled to stay safe.
17. While filming, Leo brought along his pet, a chameleon named Blizzard.
18. Cameron only had one chance to film the horrific scene of water flooding the Titanic’s grand and luxurious room, and he succeeded.
19. Initially, the role of Captain Smith was offered to Robert Di Niro. He declined at the last minute due to health reasons. The role was then given to Bernard Hill.
20. The image of the elderly couple lying together as the ship sank is based on two real-life figures, Ida and Isidor Straus, owners of Macy’s department store in New York. According to Glamour magazine, Ida was offered a place on a lifeboat but refused, saying, “We have lived together for many years. Where you go, I go.”
21. Cameron interwove some real-life survivors’ dialogue into the movie. For example, when Jack stops Rose from jumping off the ship, he says, “You’re going to feel a bit of a bump.” This was based on a quote from officer Charles Herber Lightoller after he survived, “It was like being stabbed a thousand times a second, and in a split second, I lost complete control.”
22. American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson pointed out that the night sky that Rose sees in the first cut of the film is not accurate for 1912. This image was adjusted in the 2012 release.
23. Cameron revealed that he introduced the Titanic project to 20th Century Fox in a short sentence: “I opened Ken Marschall’s Titanic illustrated book, and there was a picture of the ship sinking, lifeboats afloat, flares being shot off. A haunting image of the disaster.”
24. A replica of the Titanic was actually built at a film studio in Baja, Mexico. Cameron used it for large-scale scenes featuring many stunt actors and the sinking of the ship. Another large model of the ship was used for the remaining scenes.
25. The door that Rose floated on to survive was a larger version of a wooden panel that was actually split in half after the sinking of the real ship in 1912. In 2018, this panel was transferred from the Maritime Museum in Halifax, Canada to the Victoria and Albert Museum in England to participate in a special exhibition for ships.
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