Cameron had originally envisioned Jack as a young Jimmy Stewart, which meant Leonardo DiCaprio wasn't even on his radar.
At the time, DiCaprio hadn’t earned his leading man stripes as of yet. He was more so known as a troubled kid – the Justin Bieber of his time. Even more shocking, he wasn’t even into the part.
Cameron had to convince him to even read the part.
DiCaprio refused to read with Winslet, but Cameron insisted. “He read it once, then started goofing around, and I could never get him to focus on it again… But for one split second, a shaft of light came down from the heavens and lit up the forest.”
Cameron had his heart set on DiCaprio, but the actor was still unconvinced. That was when Winslet stepped in.
After she found out that DiCaprio wasn’t sure about whether he would take the role, she tracked him down during the Cannes Film Festival.
“I was thinking, ‘I’m going to persuade him to do this because I’m not doing it without him, and that’s all there is to it,’ ” Winslet said. “‘I will have him.’ Because he is fucking brilliant. He’s a fucking genius, and that was absolutely why.”
DiCaprio finally accepted the part and got his multimillion dollar paycheck for the role, but surprisingly, however, he wasn't the first actor to read for the part.
You heard that right, DiCaprio wasn’t James Cameron’s first choice. Cameron had seriously considered Matthew McConaughey for the role – as in, True Detective Matthew McConaughey, How to Lose a Guy in Seven Days Matthew McConaughey.
Winslet has nothing but great things to say about McConaughey.
“I auditioned with Matthew, isn’t that weird?” she said during a recent visit to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “Never said that in public before. I auditioned with Matthew, which was completely fantastic. It just wouldn’t have been the whole ‘Jack and Rose, Kate and Leo’ thing.”
You’ve got that right. But, as it turns out, Matthew McConaughey wasn’t the only man Cameron considered. Christian Bale, Chris O’Donnell and Tom Cruise were also considered for the role.