James Cameron reveals Leonardo DiCaprio ALMOST lost 'Titanic' role after refusing screen test

In the recent interview, Cameron noted that he told DiCaprio that he's not getting the 'Titanic' role if he refused the screen test

James Cameron reveals Leonardo DiCaprio ALMOST lost 'Titanic' role after refusing screen test
Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack and Kate Winslet as Rose in 'Titanic' (Paramount Pictures)
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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: We all know how important ‘Titanic’ turned out to be for Leonardo DiCaprio’s career and how it made him an instant superstar. The movie directed by James Cameron became one of the most successful movies of all time and shattered all box office records. One of the reasons for the movie’s success was the extraordinary chemistry between DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, the film’s leading couple. However, it seems the audition process with DiCaprio wasn’t as smooth as Cameron would have expected it to be and the actor was really close to losing the role of Jack in the iconic movie.

Released in 1997, ‘Titanic’ was based on the accounts of the sinking of the RMS Titanic and saw members of two different social classes fall in love as the ship took off for its ill-fated maiden voyage. The movie received universal acclaim and became the first movie ever to earn more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office. It held the record of being the highest-grossing movie of all time until 2010 when another James Cameron movie, ‘Avatar’, surpassed the earnings and crossed the $2 billion mark. DiCaprio and Winslet received a lot of recognition for their performances, but it seems DiCaprio was lucky that he was still a part of the project.

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Director James Cameron of the television show AMC Visionaries: James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction speaks onstage during the AMC portion of the 2018 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour on January 13, 2018 in Pasadena, California.
Director James Cameron of the television show AMC Visionaries: James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction speaks onstage during the AMC portion of the 2018 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour on January 13, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for AMC)

In a recent interview with GQ, the legendary filmmaker shared a lot of insights about his filmmaking career and how he approaches his movies. While talking about ‘Titanic’, Cameron revealed that DiCaprio was really close to losing the role of Jack after he originally refused to read the script of the movie opposite Winslet during a screen test.
During their meeting, Cameron made it clear that DiCaprio won’t be getting the role until he reads the script during the screen test. He also noted that his first meeting with the actor was “hysterical” because he was waiting in the conference room to meet him and all the women present in the meeting were dying to meet the ‘Revenant’ star.

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“You’re going to read, or you’re not going to get the part. There was a meeting with Leo and then there was a screen test with Leo. 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. They all wanted to meet Leo. It was hysterical,” Cameron told GQ Magazine.

The filmmaker also revealed that DiCaprio charmed everyone during the first meeting, but he was ready to turn the actor “away” after the actor refused to read the lines. The director said that this movie was going to take 2 years of her professional life and he didn’t want to make a “bad casting choice.”

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"Titanic" star Leonardo DiCaprio attends the Golden Globe Awards January 18, 1998 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA. (Photo by Brenda Chase/Online USA)

“Oh, yeah. Come on. This is 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**k it up by making the wrong decision in casting. So, you’re going to read, or you’re not going to get the part,” Cameron responded after DiCaprio asked if he was going to lose the part if he doesn’t read the lines.

However, when he read the lines, DiCaprio embodied the character so well that Cameron said “he’s the guy.”

The movie featured impeccable performances from Winslet and DiCaprio. Winslet was nominated for the Best Actress accolade at the Academy Awards while the movie was nominated for 14 trophies and won 11 accolades, including Best Picture. DiCaprio was nominated for the Best Actor trophy at the Golden Globes and the movie earned a lot of money during its run.

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James Cameron on the set with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio (20th Century Studios)
James Cameron on the set with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio (20th Century Studios)

Even 25 years after its release, ‘Titanic’ is still the third highest-grossing movie of all time with earnings of $2.2 billion at the box office.

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