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.
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