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Titanic Tidbits

Facts about the real Titanic

Facts about the movie Titanic

  • James Cameron (director) makes a cameo appearance as a third-class passenger getting his beard checked for lice before boarding the Titanic.

  • When Cal talks about Rose's Picasso paintings, he states, "He won't amount to anything. Trust me." Jack says these same words to Rose throughout the whole movie, and she falls in love with him...

  • Before Rose tries to jump off the ship, the screenplay included two deleted scenes. The first was at dinner where Rose is surrounded by conversations around her, but is staring at the table. Underneath the table, she pokes a fork into the skin of her arm until it draws blood. The next deleted scene was a rampage in her room directly after dinner. She tears at her clothes, her hair, and finally ends up throwing a handmirror against the wall, thus cracking it. We see the handmirror earlier in the movie, when Old Rose sees the recovered items from her room. It has been cracked, but we believe that it is from the impact from the sinking. Cameron had deleted these scenes because he thought it was more intriguing to cut to Rose running on the deck to the back of the ship.

  • In the scene where Rose's slips off the back of the Titanic, and Jack pulls her up, he says, "I've got you. I won't let go." He saves her then, and later in the movie, as the Titanic is sinking vertically in the water, he says these exact same words.

  • When Cal gives Rose the Heart of the Ocean, he tells her, "Open your heart to me, Rose." Rose then covers the blue heart diamond necklace with her hand.

  • After the Third Class party, Jack and Rose head out on the deck for some fresh air and sing "Come Josephine in My Flying Machine". The following piece of dialogue and actions were supposed to happen in the original screenplay:
    ROSE: They’re such small people, crowd. They think they’re giants on the earth, but they’re not even dust in God’s eye. They live inside this little tiny champagne bubble...and someday the bubble’s going to burst.

    He leans at the rail next to her, his hand just touching hers. It is the slightest contact imaginable, and all either one of them can feel is that square inch of skin where their hands are touching.

    JACK: You’re not one of them. There’s been a mistake.

    ROSE: A mistake?

    JACK: Uh huh. You got mailed to the wrong address.

    ROSE: (laughing) I did, didn’t I?
    (pointing suddenly) Look! A shooting star.

    JACK: That was a long one. My father used to say that whenever you saw one, it was a soul going to heaven.

    ROSE: I like that. Aren’t we supposed to wish on it?

    Jack looks at her, and finds that they are suddenly very close together. It would be so easy to move another couple of inches, to kiss her. Rose seems to be thinking the same thing.

    JACK: What would you wish for?

    After a beat, Rose pulls back.

    ROSE: Something I can’t have.
    (she smiles sadly)
    Goodnight, Jack. And thank you.

    She leaves the rail and hurries through the First Class Entrance

    JACK: Rose!

    But the door bangs shut, and she is gone. Back to her world.

    ~Cameron wanted to cut from the Third Class Party to the breakfast with Cal - thus showing the unbearable suffocation Rose was feeling..

  • James Cameron had originally written the corset scene with Rose lacing Ruth into her corset, but decided to reverse the scene to make it more powerful. In the end, Ruth laced Rose into her corset, making Rose’s situation more binding.

  • The paintings that Rose brings on the ship with her have small meanings. The Degas painting of the joyful dancers portray what Rose wants to feel. These dancers are always present in the room when Rose has confrontations with Cal or her mother. Rose also admires the Picasso nude paintings because of Picasso’s courage to try new things.

  • When production of Titanic began, the scene where Jack draws Rose’s nude picture was the first scene that Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio filmed together. Cameron however used their nervous energy to play the emotions correctly in the scene.

  • Cameron, a gifted artist, sketched Winslet's portrait for the movie. The film editors then spliced frames of Cameron's hands and juxtaposed them with frames of Dicaprio's eyes.

  • When Jack and Rose run through the boiler rooms, there was a cut scene where Jack and Rose kiss for the second time. Cameron decided that the second kiss should have been in the Renault where Jack and Rose first make love.

  • After the ship struck the iceberg and the ice comes crashing on the deck, Rose drops a piece of ice down the back of Jack’s shirt playfully, unaware that their lives are about to change.

  • When Rose goes off in search of Jack, and leaves Cal and her mother behind, Cal goes after her. He says the line, "To be a whore to that gutter rat?", and Rose replies with "I’d rather be his whore than your wife." Cal then pursues her again, and Rose was originally supposed to poke him with a hatpin. During rehearsals, Kate Winslet suggested that spitting in Cal’s face would be more dramatically sufficient. Rose uses a skill that she has learned from Jack, and shows that her character has grown.

  • Rose and Jack were fictional characters, but Cameron used a historical event as a major scene. Rose's leap from the lifeboat was inspired by real-life Titanic passenger Ida Strauss's last-minute scramble from her lifeboat back to the sinking ship to stay with her husband, Isador.

  • Cameron felt there was time for only one romance in the movie, so he cut the scenes of Jack’s friend, Fabrizio and his new love, Helga. A few frames of the couple dancing in steerage were kept for the final cut.

  • In the final cut of the film, Fabrizio was killed by a collapsing funnel. Originally, after Titanic sank, Cal beat Fabrizio off a boat, thus killing him. Cameron decided that Cal’s character would be too negative. "Once he uses the little steerage girl to get a place in a lifeboat, we hate him enough to last the rest of the film," Cameron states.

  • After Titanic sinks, Rose and Jack were originally supposed to surface together, but Cameron thought differently. He believed that it would be more terrifying for Rose to surface alone, in the middle of total chaos.

  • Jack kisses Rose’s hand after she promises him that she will never let go. It is a parallelism to the kiss on Rose’s hand on the Grand Staircase. It is also the last thing that Jack does.

  • As Rose looks up at the night sky awaiting a rescue boat, Cameron had computer graphics artists generate a vague outline of the "Heart of the Ocean" necklace in the stars.

  • In the original screenplay, Cal was supposed to find Rose among the steerage passengers. But Rose tells him to forget about her and thus, shows a lot of resolve after losing so much. Cameron decided to cut the scene, because he realized that Rose was mourning along with everyone else on the Carpathia. Her inspiration for strength is gone.

  • In the original script, Old Rose’s moment at the back of the ship was not to be a private moment. Instead, the whole crew would discover her with the diamond and try to convince her to hand it over. Cameron decided that the audience wouldn’t care about Brock’s epiphany. Cameron wanted to keep the memory of Jack and Rose’s love story fresh in the audience’s minds.

Little known facts about the movie and the actors

  • Cameron created the names of his lead characters using elements from his own life. For example, he chose "Rose" because it was his grandmother's name. In addition, "Caledon" and "Hockley" are two towns in Ontario, Canada, where Cameron grew up.

  • Although the name "Jack Dawson" was purely fictional, there was a real life passenger named "J. Dawson" who died in the sinking. The real-life Dawson was an engineer aboard the ship.

  • Using bits of historical fact mixed with his own speculation, Cameron depicted First Officer William Murdoch committing suicide after shooting passengers and accepting a bribe. After the film's release, Murdoch's survivors and other historians were angered by Cameron's treatment of the heroic first officer. Studio executives have since issued an apology and made a large donation to Murdoch's memorial fund.

  • True to history, the original screenplay included a scene of the ship's Morse Code operators receiving an iceburg warning from a nearby boat. Because the operators prioritized messages for first-class passengers, the warning was never delivered to the Captain. Although those scenes were filmed, they were cut from the final version.

  • When James Cameron first met Leonardo Dicaprio, he wasn't convinced that he was right for the role of Jack: "Leonardo was on a list of names. I didn't know him, I'd never met him. I think I had only seen ‘Gilbert Grape,' and so I didn't really know what to expect. And I noticed that when he came in for the first meeting... all the [women in the building] were all in the room. And I'm, like, This is a little odd, you know."

  • The first choice of studio executives for the role of Jack Dawson was Matthew McConaughey (known for his roles in "A Time to Kill" and the more recent "EDTV"). Cameron and Kate Winslet, however, wanted Dicaprio for the lead.

  • Cameron's first choice for the part of Rose was Gwyneth Paltrow. Claire Danes was also rumored to have been asked to audition.

  • After reviewing the screenplay, Winslet made every effort to land the part of Rose: "When I read the script before being given the part, I was in floods of tears. That has never happened to me before and I thought: 'I have to do this.' I made endless phone calls to the director James Cameron. 'Give me a go,' I pleaded with him. 'I promise I can bring energy to it. Just let me show you... You don't understand, I am Rose."

  • Despite her many insistent telephone calls (some made to Cameron's car phone), Cameron wasn't convinced that Winslet was right for the part: "She'd done... several period films... It seemed almost like lazy casting. Then a couple weeks went by, and she actually called me from England and said, ‘Hey, what's going on? How come you're not casting me as Rose? I'm Rose, it's obvious'... I did decide pretty quickly after that, not because of that... to cast her."

  • Robert Sean Leonard (of "Dead Poets Society" fame) auditioned for the role of Cal but walked away when he realized that he would not be able to make the character more three-dimensional: "If I had a wife and child and had to pay my bills, I'd do ‘Titanic' in a second. But if I have a choice, I'll always go with the work over the possibility of money and fame."

  • When Gloria Stuart read the script, she immediately fell in love with the role of the older Rose. Because she had not acted for thirtysome years and was without an agent, Stuart contacted Cameron herself and "begged for the part."

  • Known for his distaste for big Hollywood productions, Dicaprio almost passed up "Titanic" to play the lead role in "Boogie Nights."

  • Winslet had wanted to star opposite Dicaprio in "William Shakespeare's ‘Romeo + Juliet' " but thought she looked too old to play Juliet. Determined to have a second chance to star with Dicaprio, she reportedly tracked him down at his hotel room and persuaded him to accept the role.

  • Country singer Reba McEntire auditioned and won the role of Molly Brown. However, since the shoot was extended beyond the expected duration, McEntire had to bail out to keep up with her prior concert engagements. The role then went to Kathy Bates. McEntire remarks: "It would have been a wonderful movie to be a part of, because it will in the history books forever as one of the greatest movies of all time. But you can't cry over spilled milk. You've just got to keep going."

  • Although Madonna was rumored to have been in the running to sing the love theme, "My Heart Will Go On," composer James Horner chose Celine Dion. Unbeknownst to Cameron (who didn't want a vocal theme tagged to the soundtrack), Dion and Horner made a secret recording. Cameron was eventually persuaded but nonetheless very surprised when the song climbed to first place on the charts.

Behind The Scenes of "Titanic"
Titanic: James Cameron’s Illustrated Screeplay
The Official Titanic Website

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