DiCaprio, 48, played Jack Dawson in the epic romance film, which was inspired by the real-life destruction of the British RMS Titanic in 1912. He co-starred with Kate Winslet, 47, who played his love interest, Rose DeWitt Bukater.

Cameron, 68, confessed in an interview with GQ that he almost missed out on the role due to an early refusal to read alongside Winslet.

“He didn’t know he was going to test,” the Canadian filmmaker reflected on the incident. When he walked in, he assumed it was another appointment to meet Kate.

“And I said, ‘Okay, so we’ll just go in the next room and we’ll just, we’ll run some lines, and I’ll video it.”

Cameron then stated that DiCaprio, who was 23 at the time, remarked, “You mean I’m reading?” “Yeah,” the filmmaker replied.

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“And he said,’Oh, I don’t read.'”‘Well,’ I responded, shaking his hand. ‘Well, thanks for stopping by,’ I added.

The harsh response appeared to jolt an arrogant DiCaprio, who reportedly 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.'” Cameron said. This is going to take two years of my life, and you’ll be doing five other things while I’m doing post-production and all the model work and everything.”

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“So I’m not going to f*** it up by making the wrong casting decision.” So you’re either going to read or you’re not going to get the part.”

According to the 68-year-old, the actor consented to read but came into the room with ‘every ounce of his entire soul’ spewing hatred.

“Right up until I said, ‘Action,’ and then he turned into Jack,” he admitted.

“And Kate just lit up, and they got into it, and he played the scene.”

“Dark clouds parted, and a ray of sunlight shone down, lighting up Jack.” ‘All right, he’s the guy,’ I say.

Despite being willing to let Leo go there and then, Cameron later said that it’s ‘hard’ to see anyone else playing the lead in the romance film.

“You try to imagine that movie without Leo or Kate,” he said to the interviewer. “It’s extremely difficult.”

Titanic (1997) L-R James Cameron and Leonardo Dicaprio

Titanic is now available on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.


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