Leonardo DiCaprio (48) almost didn't get the role of Jack Dawson in "Titanic" because he refused to read a scene.
Director James Cameron (68) reveals in a new interview with "GQ" magazine how DiCaprio almost messed with him as a young actor. After a first meeting, in which DiCaprio convinced everyone of his charm, according to Cameron, another meeting followed. This led to a spontaneous screen test in which the actor and Kate Winslet (47) were supposed to take turns reading a scene from the film.
DiCaprio probably didn't expect that, Cameron recalls: "He said, 'You mean I read?' I said yes.' He said, 'Oh, I don't read.'" That almost ended the meeting and Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson. Cameron: "I shook his hand and said, 'Thanks for coming over.'" DiCaprio ran after him and asked if he wouldn't get the role "just like that".
Cameron clearly explained his principles to him: "Come on. This is a huge film that's going to take two years of my life and you're going to do five other projects while I do the post-production. So I won't screw up by making the wrong decision in the casting. So, you're going to read or you're not going to get the part.'"
The director's resolute attitude made DiCaprio change his mind. Cameron continued, "Well, he walks in and every inch of his being was just so negative - until I said 'action'. That's when he became Jack." Apparently an impressive moment, he continues: "Kate just lit up and they played the scene. Dark clouds broke and a ray of sunshine came down and illuminated Jack. I said, 'All right. He's our man.'"
The right decision, as everyone knows today: the film, released in 1997, took first place in the list of the most successful films of all time until 2009 and won eleven Oscars.