Twelve Unsinkable Facts for Titanic’s 20th Anniversary
“It’s been 84 years….”
A chilling tale of romantic disaster, Titanic combines the fictitious love story of Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) and Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) with the untimely fate of the R.M.S. Titanic, one of history’s most famous ships.
Originally an elaborate plan to obtain funding for deep-sea filming expeditions, Cameron has stated that he made Titanic because he wanted to dive to the real wreck. As the writer, director, co-producer, and co-editor of the film, Cameron ended up spending more time with the ship than its actual passengers.
Filmed on a production budget of $200M, Titanic was the most expensive movie ever made at the time. Since its release on December 19, 1997, the film has continued to crash industry records, winning 11 Academy Awards and earning over $2.1B worldwide. In fact, Titanic was the first film to reach the billion-dollar mark, only to be surpassed by Cameron’s 2010 environmental epic, Avatar.
Climb aboard and take our hand as we explore 12 unsinkable facts to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Titanic. Just promise us you’ll never let go, okay?
1. She’s a Survivor
Reba McEntire was originally cast for the role of Molly Brown but had to turn down the part due to scheduling conflicts. Barbra Streisand was also up for the part before it eventually went to Kathy Bates.
2. Canadian Roots
A proud Canadian, director James Cameron named the character of Caledon Hockley (Billy Zane) after two small towns in Ontario where he used to spend his summer vacations as a child.
3. My Heart Will Go On…and On…and On
Despite its chart-topping success, it seems not everyone is a fan of Titanic’s iconic theme song, “My Heart Will Go On.” During the film’s 3D re-release in 2012, Kate Winslet admitted: "I wish I could say, 'Oh listen, everybody! It's the Céline Dion song!' But I don't. I just have to sit there, you know, kind of straight-faced with a massive internal eye roll."
4. (Second) Best Girl
Lindsay Lohan almost had a part in Titanic. Producers considered Lohan, who was 8 at the time, for the role of Jack’s “best girl” Cora Cartmell, before siding with Alexandrea Owens. Cameron felt Lohan’s fiery red hair made her look too related to Rose.
5. Smoke & Mirrors
In an attempt to make the boiler room appear larger on camera, most of the actors used in the scenes were only about five-feet tall. Set designers also installed huge mirrors to give the illusion of a bigger space. See if you can spot one of the mirrors in the GIF above!
6. Undercover Cameron
James Cameron makes multiple cameos over the course of the film. You can spot the Oscar-winning director at least three times: 1) as a bearded, third class passenger being checked for lice at the beginning of the film, 2) as the same character searching for his stateroom behind Jack and Fabrizio, and 3) as an older bearded man below Lovejoy during the third-class party scene.
7. A Rose by Any Other Name
Before James Cameron picked Kate Winslet as his leading lady, the following actresses were all considered for the role of Rose DeWitt Bukater: Jennifer Aniston, Geena Davis, Gabrielle Carteris, Tori Spelling, Christina Applegate, Emily Mortimer, Madonna, Claire Danes, Winona Ryder, Rose Byrne, Nicole Kidman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Claire Forlani, Angelina Jolie, Minnie Driver, Drew Barrymore, Jeri Ryan, Eliza Dushku, Rosanna Arquette, Reese Witherspoon, Uma Thurman, Nicollette Sheridan, Marguerite Chapman, Jennifer Connelly, Gabrielle Anwar, Amanda Donohoe, and Charlize Theron.
8. Dawson Dilemma
Kate Winslet wasn’t the only one up against some stiff audition competition! While casting the role of Jack Dawson, James Cameron considered a number of established actors for the part, including: Johnny Depp, Rob Lowe, River Phoenix, Tom Cruise, Stephen Dorff, Macaulay Culkin, Billy Crudup, Ethan Hawke, Chris O’Donnell, Brad Pitt, Matthew McConaughey, and Jared Leto.
The hands you see while Jack is drawing Rose like one of his French girls do not belong to Leonardo DiCaprio – they’re James Cameron’s! In fact, Cameron is responsible for all of the drawings in Jack’s sketchbook.
10. J. Dawson
After the film’s release, many were surprised to learn that there was actually a J. Dawson grave at Fairview Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia where 121 Titanic victims are buried. However, James Cameron later stated he had no idea that J. Dawson was a real person. For the record, the man’s full name was Joseph Dawson and he shovelled coal in the bowels of the ship.
11. Photographic Memories
Before Old Rose’s final dream sequence, look closely at the framed pictures on her dresser. The photographs show all of the things Jack said Rose would do with her life, such as riding a horse through the Santa Monica surf like a real cowboy.
12. Perfect Timing
When Jack and Rose are reunited during the final scene of the film, the clock on the staircase behind them reads 2:20 a.m. – the exact time the R.M.S. Titanic sank on April 15, 1912.
We just really like this GIF….
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