Leonardo DiCaprio almost lost Titanic role because he didn’t want to audition
Leonardo DiCaprio is Jack Dawson, and Jack Dawson is Leonardo DiCaprio.
However, James Cameron recently stated that Leonardo DiCaprio’s “hot young actor on the rise” attitude almost cost him the job that launched his career.
Cameron took a risk in 1995 when he cast his doomed lovers in Titanic (heard of it?). Before meeting Kate Winslet, he had considered Gwyneth Paltrow for Rose DeWitt Bukate. Meanwhile, DiCaprio was near the top of Jack’s list of potential actors.
“There was a meeting with Leo, and then there was a screen test with Leo,” he explained. “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.'”
Cameron wanted to make sure that DiCaprio and Winslet had the kind of relationship that could sell a nude figure drawing, even though everyone (even the accountant) was enamoured with DiCaprio. The Oscar-nominated star of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, who had just sent youthful hearts racing as Romeo in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, returned to find that Cameron had expected him to read for the part.
The actor reportedly told Cameron, “Oh, I don’t read.” And with that, Cameron extended his hand to shake with the rising star and said, “Well, thanks for coming by.” The filmmaker claims that a stunned Leonardo DiCaprio said, “Wait, wait, wait, if I don’t read, I don’t get the part. Just like that?'”
Cameron claims he told DiCaprio that Titanic wasn’t just “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— 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 writes that DiCaprio “sucked it up” and brought his bangs to the screen test “every ounce of his entire being is entirely negative right up until I said, ‘Action,’ and then 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.'”