Titanic Director Reveals Why He Didn't Originally Want To Cast Kate Winslet In The Film

Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic
Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic Merie W Wallace/20th Century Fox/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

It’s arguably the most iconic role of her career, and even earned her an Oscar nomination, but Kate Winslet almost didn’t play Rose in Titanic

The British actor shot to global fame after starring opposite Leonard DiCaprio in the 1997 blockbuster, but apparently director James Cameron wasn’t immediately sold on her.

Because Kate had already made a name for herself acting in period dramas like Sense and Sensibility, Jude and Hamlet, earning her the nickname “Corset Kate” in the press, the Avatar director worried the casting would look a tad uninspired.

“It seemed like lazy casting,” he told Variety in a recent interview, admitting he had initially resisted selecting her for the role. 

“But then wiser heads prevailed, and I could see what everybody was talking about,” he continued. “She’s very alive. She comes into a room with a great deal of confidence, and she’s got that spark of life.”

Kate Winslet in character as Rose in Titanic
Kate Winslet in character as Rose in Titanic Merie W Wallace/20th Century Fox/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

Gwyneth Paltrow, Winona Ryder and Reese Witherspoon are among the actors who were also reportedly considered for the role.

As for the role of Jack, Matthew McConaugheyauditioned unsuccessfully after even reading opposite Kate, while actors including Tom Cruise, Jared Leto and Johnny Depp have also previously been linked to the role.

Titanic went on to be a massive critical and commercial success, landing 14 Oscar nominations and 11 wins, including Best Picture. However, Leo was snubbed entirely, and he decided to skip the ceremony that year. 

The Revenant actor apparently nearly blew his own audition, with the director recalling to GQ that he was “just so negative” when it came to reading for the role

Filmmaker James Cameron
Filmmaker James Cameron JOEL SAGET via Getty Images

Earlier this year, meanwhile, Kate recalled reading opposite another famous actor in one fan favourite film of hers.

Speaking on The Tonight Show with host Jimmy Fallon, she recalled Robert Downey Jr. doing a “dreadful” English accent for the part of Graham, which ultimately went to Jude Law.

“Robert Downey did an English accent, but I thought he was doing Australian,” the Kate said. “And I thought, ‘That’s bad, that’s not going to work, and who’s going to tell him that that sounds dreadful?’”