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James Cameron Shares How DiCaprio Nearly Lost Jack Dawson

Leonardo DiCaprio will always be Jack Dawson. And Jack Dawson will forever be Leonardo DiCaprio. Facts will always be facts. And it’s what it’s supposed to be. 

However, James Cameron recently revealed that DiCaprio’s newfound demeanor almost cost him the role that made him a cinematic sensation.

In 1995, the Titanic posed a huge risk to Cameron as he searched for his doomed lovers. He was thinking about Gwyneth Paltrow for Rose DeWitt Bukater until he ran into Kate Winslet. The director described Winslet as “fantastic.” 

Meanwhile, DiCaprio is one of the actors on Cameron’s list, and he’s at the top of it.

“There was a meeting with Leo. And there was a screen test with Leo,” Cameron said in an interview with GQ. 

“The meeting was funny because I am sitting in my conference room, waiting to meet an actor. And I look around, and all the women in the entire office are in the meeting for some reason.” 

“There’s a female executive producer, okay, fine, but our accountant? They all wanted to meet Leo. It was hysterical. I looked around, and I went, ‘I think I already know the answer to the question here.’” 

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DiCaprio on His Peak

DiCaprio charmed everyone, but Cameron wondered if he and Winslet had the kind of chemistry that would sell for painting a nude figure.

And then DiCaprio went back, believing he would meet his leading lady. However, Cameron wanted him to only read for the part. He who was the Oscar-nominated actor in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, who drew much attention as Romeo in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet?

According to Cameron, DiCaprio told him, “Oh, I don’t read.” So Cameron shook the booming heartthrob’s hand and stated, “Well, thanks for coming by.” 

The director said a surprised DiCaprio responded, “Wait, wait, wait, if I don’t read, I don’t get the part. Just like that?” 

Cameron said he told DiCaprio what it was for him and the director after Titanic was completed. 

The film was “a giant movie that is going to take two years of my life. And you’ll be gone doing five other things while I’m doing post-production. So, I’m not going to f— up by making the wrong decision in casting. So, you’re going to read, or you’re not going to get the part,” he said. 

Then, DiCaprio had no choice but to drag his bangs to the screen test. 

According to Cameron, “every ounce of his entire being is entirely negative right up until I said, ‘Action.’ And he turned into Jack. And Kate just lit up. And they went into this whole thing, and he played the scene. Dark clouds had opened up, a ray of sun came down and lit up Jack. I’m like, ‘All right, he’s the guy.’” 

From then on, history unfolded. And as Celine Dion sings it, it “will go on and on and on.”

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Photo: Page Six

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