Leonardo DiCaprio becomes a heartthrob with his iconic performance in the 1997 hit Film, Titanic. And no one can imagine some other Hollywood actor with Kate Winslet on the ship’s deck. However, Director James Cameron recently shared why the actor’s attitude during his auditioning process for the 1997 classic came close to costing him the role.
According to Cameron, once he had cast Kate Winslet in the movie as Rose, he later had a meeting with Leonardo DiCaprio, who was then 21 years old. Cameron recalled that DiCaprio charmed everyone in the office, including himself, though DiCaprio still needed to go through a chemistry reading with Kate. In a recent interview with GQ, Cameron shared, “So he comes in a couple of days later and I’ve got the camera set up to record the video.”
The actor added, “He didn’t know he was gonna test. He thought it was another meeting to meet Kate. And I said, ‘OK, so we’ll just go in the next room and we’ll run some lines and I’ll video it.’ And he said, ‘You mean I’m reading?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Oh, I don’t read.'” That was a dealbreaker for Cameron, who said he shook DiCaprio’s hand and thanked him “for coming by.”
However, Cameron further shared that DiCaprio then said, ‘Wait, wait, wait. You mean, if I don’t read, I don’t get the part, just like that? And I said, ‘Oh yeah, come on. This is like a giant movie.'” As Cameron puts it, the film was going to take up ‘two years of my life,’ and he did not want to make “the wrong decision in casting.” Afterwards, he gave DiCaprio a choice, “You’re going to read or you’re not going to get the part.”
DiCaprio agreed though Cameron noted the future Oscar winner did so begrudgingly. However, playing Jack wasn’t easy for DiCaprio as Cameron remembered, as the actor was navigating playing a character who was unlike roles he had done in the past. Cameron later understood that DiCaprio “didn’t want something that was easy.” Reflecting back on the experience, Cameron added it’s tough to picture a world where DiCaprio isn’t in Titanic.