It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Leonardo DiCaprio while auditioning for ‘Titanic’, who would agree that the James Cameron film changed everything for him. Cameron, in an interview with GQ magazine revealed that at first Leonardo was apprehensive about reading the part opposite Kate Winslet.
Cameron also said Winslet was not his first choice to play the heroine, as he thought she was ‘typecast’. He was considering someone like Gwyneth Paltrow for Rose. “I actually didn’t see Kate at first,” he said.
Cameron narrated that after DiCaprio refused to read the part, the director told the actor, “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,” James said.
By the time Leo came, Kate was locked for the part as Rose. James said, “He came back a couple of days later, and I had the camera set up to record the video. He didn’t know he was going to test. He thought it was another meeting to meet Kate. So I said, ‘Okay, 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?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Oh, I don’t read.’ I shook his hand and said, ‘Thanks for coming by.’”
Leonardo then said, “Wait, wait, wait. If I don’t read, I don’t get the part? Just like that?” Cameron responded, “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 fuck it up by making the wrong decision in casting. So, you’re going to read, or you’re not going to get the part.’”
“So he comes in, and he’s like every ounce of his entire being is just so negative — right up until I said, ‘Action.’ Then he turned into Jack,” Cameron concluded. “Kate just lit up, and they played the scene. Dark clouds had opened up, and a ray of sun came down and lit up Jack. I’m like, ‘All right. He’s the guy.’”
James Cameron’s ‘Titanic’ was the highest grossing movie of all time during its run.