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Titanic director drops bombshell detail about movie: 'So negative'

Titanic director James Cameron has dropped a bombshell detail about the film, saying star Leonardo DiCaprio almost wasn't cast because of his attitude.

In an interview with GQ, James said when he was casting the film he was charmed by Leo and wanted to see his chemistry with co-star Kate Winslet.

"So he comes in a couple of days later and I've got the camera set up to record the video," he said.

"[Leo] came in, he thought it was another meeting to meet Kate. And I said, 'OK, so we'll just go in the next room and we'll just run some lines and I'll video it."

A confused Leo, who was 21 at the time, said: "You mean, I'm reading?"

When James confirmed that was the case, Leo said: "Oh, I don't read".

Leonardo DiCaprio kisses Kate Winslet in Titanic.
Leonardo DiCaprio almost wasn't cast in the film Titanic. Source: Getty

The director said he then shook the actor's hand and thanked him for coming by. Leo was perplexed by the situation and why he suddenly didn't have the part.

"Wait, wait, wait. If I don't read, I don't get the part? Just like that?" Leo said, according to the director.

"Oh, yeah. Come on. This is 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 ... 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," James responded.

James said the actor complained and "every ounce of his entire being was just so negative" up until he said "action".

"Then he turned into Jack," the director said. "[He] just went into this whole thing and played the scene. Dark clouds just opened up and a ray of sunshine came down and lit up Jack."

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James said it was then he realised, "He's the guy".

The director revealed however the difficulties with the actor did not stop there and he attempted to make changes to the Titanic script to give him more of a traumatic backstory.

James told him however he had to learn to "hold the centre" and not use the tragic story of his character as a crutch.

Leonardo DiCaprio on the set of Titanic.
Leonardo DiCaprio was 'so negative' when he had to do a read with Kate Winslet, according to Titanic's director. Source: Getty

"I'm thinking you're not ready," James then told the actor.

"Those things are easy, those are crutches. What I'm talking about is much harder. You're probably not quite ready."

James said Leo then realised what a challenging role it really was.

"He didn't want something easy, he wanted something smart. And that's been his instinct since then," the director said.

Titanic, which was released in 1997, went on to win 11 Academy Awards in 1998. It is the third highest-grossing film of all time, with it raking in $2.2 billion at the Worldwide Box Office.

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