Leonardo DiCaprio rose to the ranks of superstardom following his role in James Cameron’s Titanic. However, according to the director, the actor nearly lost out on his role for not wanting to audition for it.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cameron spoke about the legendary 1995 film. According to him, DiCaprio was always at the top of his list to play Jack, but the role almost went to someone else after DiCaprio refused to read for the role.
“‘Oh, I don’t read,'” Cameron said DiCaprio told him before the director shook his hand and said, “Well, thanks for coming by.” It was then, Cameron said, that DiCaprio replied, “Wait, wait, wait, if I don’t read, I don’t get the part. Just like that?'”
Cameron went on to say that he told DiCaprio that Titanic was “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.”
The director went on to say that DiCaprio did end up reading for the part, although he did joke that “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.'”
Of course, DiCaprio’s turn as Jack was what turned him from an already famous heartthrob into a superstar and would lead to countless roles for him in the future. As for Cameron, his next film, Avatar: The Way of Water, will premiere in theaters on December 16, 2022.