16 Fascinating Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The Sets Of ‘Titanic’

Legendary movies cannot be made without unforgettable moments. Titanic is one such movie that will always stay close to all hearts. Titanic started production in 1996 with a budget of $200 million. One of the highest-grossing, most critically acclaimed films of all time, could not have been filmed without some pretty amazing stories that happened on its magnanimous sets. Turns out, there were some epic behind-the-scenes moments on the sets of Titanic, that make this movie even more enigmatic.

1. Matthew McConaughey And Gwyneth Paltrow could have been Jack And Rose

Matthew McConaughey And Gwyneth Paltrow, Titanic movie stories

Now if that would have happened, the world would have been all so different. But before Leonardo was chosen, McConaughey was almost the studio’s first choice. Titanic’s director James Cameron revealed:

“Matthew read for the part and then we met Leo. Leo came in for an interview and I had this weird thing: I looked around the room and every woman in the building was in the meeting… the accountant was there, the female security guard, so I thought maybe I better cast this guy.”

Similarly, Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman, Winona Ryder were some of the first choices for Titanic.

2. James Cameron drew Rose’s nude portrait that sold for £10,000

Still from Titanic movie

In the scene where Jack is sketching Rose on his sketchbook, it’s James Cameron’s hands that we actually see. Fun fact- Caprio cannot draw! James Cameron sketched all of it by himself. His portrait of a nude Winslet from Titanic sold for £10,000 in 2011.

20th Century Fox

3. Kate Winslet flashed Leo before the famous nude scene

Kate Winslet flashed Leo

20th Century Fox

The infamous scene where Jack sketches Rose “as one of his french girls’ wearing “nothing but the heart of the ocean” was one of the few first scenes they did together. To break the ice, Kate decided to flash Leo, before the scene! It was also the first time they had met!

4. Kate Winslet refused to wear a wetsuit and got Pneumonia

Kate Winslet as Rose in Titanic

20th Century Fox

The crew had to spend a lot of time in a massive, on-set water tank during filming. The water that was used was sourced directly from the Pacific Ocean.

Kate refused to wear a swim suit because she’d thought she’d be too aware of it – thus, it’d negatively affect her performance. She got pneumonia as a result.

5. James Cameron changed a scene post-release after astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s comment

Rose final scene titanic

An email from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson explained to James Cameron that Rose wouldn’t be able to see the stars as she gazes up at the sky while floating on the door in the last scene. Cameron later changed that scene for the 3D release, after ten years of getting the same complaint!

6. James Cameron spent more time researching the actual Titanic, than any of the original ship’s passengers

Titanic Wreckage


Cameron actually descended to the bottom of the ocean multiple times in order to study the sunken wreck of the Titanic.

7. Kate Winslet really wanted to play Rose’s part!

Kate Winslet, Leonardo, James Cameron

Kate Winslet wanted to be Rose in Titanic so bad, that she literally hounded James for the role. Though she never auditioned for the role but did give a successful screen test.

“You don’t understand! I am Rose!” she told him. “I don’t know why you’re even seeing anyone else!”

8. Robert De Niro was originally cast as Captain Smith

Robert De Niro was originally cast as Captain Smith

Robert De Niro had a formal offer for the part of Captain Smith. He had all the intentions to take it but had to decline at the end due to gastrointestinal issue.

9. The “door” from Titanic’s final scene wasn’t a door

Turns out that the famous wooden panel that saves Rose in the end, wasn’t really a door, but a broken piece of an archway from the ship! Here’s proof!

The "door" from Titanic's final scene wasn't a door


10. A real wood panel like the one that saves Rose still exists

real wood panel like the one that saves Rose still exists, Titanic Movie Stories

20th Century Fox

The wood panel that Jack and Rose use to stay afloat, and eventually saves Rose, is inspired by an actual wooden panel from the Titanic wreckage. James Cameron visited the Titanic museum where he saw the wooden panel and imagined Jack and Rose’s final emotional moments.

11. J. Dawson was real

J. Dawson gravestone

Jack Dawson was a fictional character in the movie, but coincidently, there also was a real J. Dawson aboard the RMS Titanic. Since its release, the real Dawson’s gravesite in Nova Scotia has been extremely popular among tourists.

12. Lindsay Lohan almost played Cora, Jack’s “best girl”

Linsay Lohan who was 8 at the time almost got the role to play Cora. But Cameron thought her red hair made her look too similar to Rose and her mother Ruth.

Lindsay Lohan almost played Cora, Jack's "best girl"

13. Titanic sinks in real-time and cost over $1 million per minute of screen time.

Titanic sinks in real-time and cost over $1 million per minute of screen time.

20th Century Fox

The entire movie runs two hours and 40 minutes – precisely the amount of time it took for the real Titanic to sink. Titanic’s collision with the iceberg lasted 37 seconds. In the movie, the event took the same amount of time. The boat was constructed at a cost of about $150 million — or about 3/4th of what the film cost and it actually sinks in real-time. In fact, making the movie cost a lot more than the actual ship.

14. Cameron used the code name “Planet Ice” for the movie

Cameron used the code name "Planet Ice" for the movie

It’s very common for Hollywood directors to give code names to movies during the initial production stage. James Cameron hid the fact that he was filming “Titanic” off the coast of Nova Scotia when shooting footage of icebergs, by giving it a code name of “Planet Ice”.

15. The entire crew was once drugged with PCP

The entire crew was once drugged with PCP, Titanic Movie Stories

During one of the last meals catering company served up a large bowl of chowder, which almost the entire crew consumed happily. What they did not know was that somebody laced the soup with PCP, otherwise known by the street name Angel Dust. Suddenly, 60 “Titanic” crew members were all out of control, having weird out of body experiences. James Cameron too was one of the poor victims!

16. Actors had access to hot tubs because the set was freezing

Actors had access to hot tubs because the set was freezing, Titanic Movie Stories

Actors spend a lot of time in ice-cold waters. The producers made hot tubs readily available on the set for actors to warm up.