James Cameron has revealed that Leonardo DiCaprio almost lost his role in Titanic because he didn’t want to audition.
In a career retrospective video for GQ, the filmmaker explained that the Oscar-winning actor “charmed everybody” during his first meeting so he asked him to come back for a screen test with Kate Winslet, who had already been cast as Rose in the 1997 epic.
However, when DiCaprio declared that he doesn’t have to audition for his roles, Cameron gave him an ultimatum – read for the part or wave goodbye to it.
“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, ‘Well, thanks for coming by,'” the director recalled.
“And he 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. This is a giant movie that is going to take two years of my life… 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.'”
DiCaprio reluctantly agreed to read for the role of Jack and allegedly had a “negative” attitude right up until the camera started recording.
“Every ounce of his entire being is just so negative – right up until I said, ‘Action.’ Then he turned into Jack,” Cameron shared. “Kate just lit up… and he 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.'”
– Cover Media