The elderly couple seen hugging on the bed while water floods their room are the owners of Macy’s department store in New York; Ida and Isidor Strauss, both of whom died on the Titanic. Ida was offered a seat on a lifeboat but refused so that she could stay with her husband, saying, “As we have lived together, so we shall die together.” There was a scene filmed that depicted this moment but was cut from the final version.
The hands seen sketching Rose are not Leonardo DiCaprio’s, but director James Cameron’s. In post-production, Cameron, who is left-handed, mirror-imaged the sketching shots so the artist would be appear to be right-handed, like DiCaprio.
At the end of the movie, when Rose meets Jack on the Grand Staircase, the time displayed on the clock is the same time the ship sank, at 2:20 AM.
After finding out that she had to be naked in front of Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet decided to break the ice, and when they first met, she flashed him.
The scenes set in 1912, i.e. the whole movie except the present-day scenes and the opening and ending credits, have a total length of two hours and forty minutes, the exact time it took for Titanic to sink. Also, the collision with the iceberg reportedly lasted 37 seconds, which is how long the collision scene is in the movie.
The scene in which Rose meets Jack to thank him for saving her life was improvised by the two actors at James Cameron’s request, and the spitting scene was almost all ad-lib. Cameron also credits Kate Winslet with writing the heart-wrenching “This is where we first met” line during the final sinking, as well as suggesting Rose spit in Cal’s face rather than (as scripted) jab him with a hairpin. No one told Billy Zane about this change, however, and his reaction to the spit is genuine.
When Jack prevents Rose from committing suicide, he shares a story about how he once fell into freezing cold water while ice fishing and how it feels like “being stabbed with a thousand knives all over your body.” This was an actual quote from a Titanic survivor describing the temperature of the North Atlantic water.
The post-sinking scenes were shot in a 350,000 gallon tank where the frozen corpses were created by applying a powder on the actors that then crystallized when exposed to water. Wax was applied to hair and clothes to create a wet look.
Many of the “core extras” used for the movie took on characteristics of actual survivors. One scene where two little girls are loaded onto a lifeboat and the man says, “It’s only for a little while” is based on testimony from one of the girls who survived.
Paramount had to send out replacement reels to theaters who had literally worn out their copies.
When James Cameron was writing the movie, he intended for the main characters Rose DeWitt Bukater and Jack Dawson to be entirely fictitious. It was only after the script was finished that he discovered that there had been a real “J. Dawson” who died aboard the Titanic. This “J. Dawson” was trimmer Joseph Dawson, who had been born September 1888 in Dublin, Ireland. His body was salvaged and buried at Fairview Lawn cemetery in Nova Scotia with many other Titanic victims. Today, his grave stone (#227) is the most widely visited in the cemetery.
At $200 million, the movie cost more than the Titanic itself. The cost to construct the ship in 1910-1912 was £1.5 million, equivalent to $7.5 million at the time and about $120 to $150 million in 1997 dollars.
In the film, Molly Brown lends Jack a tuxedo that she has most likely purchased in Europe for her son who is supposedly the same size as Jack. The real Molly Brown did indeed have a son, Larry, who was 24 at the time that the Titanic sank.
This was the first film to be nominated twice for an Academy Award, for the portrayal of the same character: Kate Winslet received a Best Actress nomination for her role as Rose and Gloria Stuart received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her portrayal of the older Rose. The next time this happened was with the movie Iris (2001), which also starred Winslet.
Reportedly, James Cameron spoke to and personally provided each of the extras (at least 150 of them) with names and back stories of Titanic passengers.
Titanic was the first film ever to be released on video (DVD/VHS) while it was still being shown in theaters.
Titanic was the first Best Picture Academy Award winner to be produced, directed, written, and edited by the same person (James Cameron).
Approximately 120 tons of water (triple what had been initially planned) were released for Eric Braeden’s final scene. Braeden said that he has never been more terrified in his life than when he was preparing for it, as there was obviously no possible physical rehearsal.
James Cameron went on the dives to the real Titanic himself, and found it an overwhelming emotional experience to actually see it. He ended up spending more time with the ship than its living passengers did.
The movie’s line “I’m the king of the world!”, which was ad-libbed by DiCaprio, was voted as the #4 of “The 100 Greatest Movie Lines” by Premiere in 2007. The same was voted as the #100 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
In the scene where the water comes crashing into the Grand Staircase room, the film makers only had one shot at it because the entire set and furnishings were going to be destroyed in the shot.
On the final night of shooting in Nova Scotia, one or more pranksters mixed the dissociative hallucinogen PCP (angel dust) into the clam chowder served to the cast and crew. 80 people were taken ill, and more than 50 were hospitalized with hallucinations. When James Cameron realized what was happening, he forced himself to vomit before the drug took full effect. Bill Paxton felt listless for two weeks after the incident (although PCP’s primary effects only last a few hours, the drug itself can take eight or more days to completely metabolize out of the body). The culprit(s) were never caught.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet committed to the film even before the script was written, on the basis only of a 165-page outline James Cameron had written.
Upon discovering the sketch of young Rose, Brock Lovett says “I’ll be goddamned”. These were the exact words of Dr. Robert Ballard upon his discovery of the Titanic wreck.
Gloria Stuart, being only 86, was aged by makeup to play Rose at age 101. She did not find this a pleasant experience.
James Cameron pitched the film to 20th Century Fox with the single line of “Romeo and Juliet on the Titanic.” Leonardo DiCaprio starred in Romeo + Juliet (1996) the year before.
With her nomination for Best Supporting Actress at age 87, Gloria Stuart became the oldest person to ever be nominated for an Oscar.
During the corset scene, it is originally Rose who is suppose to be tightening her mother’s corset. However, James Cameron and the actresses felt that the scene had much more of an effect of Rose being in the corset.
Kate Winslet was one of the few actors who didn’t want to wear a wetsuit during the water scenes. As a result, she got pneumonia, and nearly quit the production as a result. However, James Cameron persuaded her to stay.
The most expensive first-class suite on the Titanic cost $4,350, the equivalent of about $75,000 today.
The piece of wooden paneling that Rose floated on after the sinking is based upon a genuine artifact that survived the sinking and is on display at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, though it was scaled larger to provide sufficient buoyancy as a life-raft for Rose.
But… Why of why didn’t Rose offered Jack to climb up and join her on board the floating door? Romantics would say there wasn’t enough space. Skeptics would think of other reasons. And you?
Titanic was the most expensive movie to be filmed in the 20th century with a budget of $200,000,000.
When Mr. Ismay is being lowered down in one of the lifeboats, the band is playing Orpheus from the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus descended to Hell to rescue Eurydice, his wife from a life of misery in the underworld. Since the camera shows Ismay being lowered at the time, its almost like he’s descending into his own personal Hell. Because if it weren’t for his insistence on speeding up, the Titanic never would have hit the iceberg. So he gets to watch it sink while the lifeboat slowly sails away.
The drawing Jack made entitled “Lady Bijou” wasn’t really just any picture. They got the idea from an old 1933 photograph taken by Brassai called “Bijou”.
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