Twenty years ago, the movie Titanic took America's hearts by storm. The tearjerker, directed by James Cameron – a director so notoriously short-tempered, fantasy author Orson Scott Card called him "hell on wheels," and lead actress Kate Winslet promised not to work with him again unless it was for "a lot of money" – grossed nearly two billion dollars at the box office. In fact, it held the title for highest grossing movie of all time for just over 12 years, until it was eclipsed by another Cameron film, Avatar.
The point here is, Cameron is an amazing director, but he's
kind of a massive prick.
Despite this, Cameron is great at romances. Well, he's great at lots of types of films – see Avatar, Terminator, True Lies – but Titanic was his masterpiece, his pièce de résistance.
When she considers suicide by jumping off the ship's stern, in steps Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio), a penniless artist.
Only problem is – well, there's lots of problems with their relationship (young love, issues of class and money) – they're on the Titanic.famously sank once it hit an iceberg, taking 1,503 people with it? Well, that's the ship upon which the young lovers consummate their sweet, sweet love, courtesy of glowing James Cameron camera angles.
Spoiler alert, but that basically means one of them dies.
Over the years, one fact about the movie has been a flashpoint for over two decades of debate.Huffington Post have published whole articles with diagrams about how both of them could have easily fit on the wooden door. But, c'est la vie. Now, finally, after years of being stalked and tormented about this door conundrum, Cameron has finally given Titanic stans the definitive answer they've been craving...
In an interview with Vanity Fair, the director lays out the reason Jack had to die.
I was in the water with the piece of wood putting people on it for about two days getting it exactly buoyant enough so that it would support one person with full free-board, meaning that she wasn’t immersed at all in the 28 degree water so that she could survive the three hours it took until the rescue ship got there. [Jack] didn’t know that she was gonna get picked up by a lifeboat an hour later; he was dead anyway. And we very, very finely tuned it to be exactly what you see in the movie because I believed at the time, and still do, that that’s what it would have taken for one person to survive.Cool, cool, very science-ish.
But it still doesn't explain why Jack died though.
Cameron acknowledges, however, that no matter the science, there was one other huge reason Jack had to die.
Cameron continues explaining his reasoning.
Obviously it was an artistic choice, the thing was just big enough to hold her, and not big enough to hold him... Had he lived, the ending of the film would have been meaningless... The film is about death and separation; he had to die. So whether it was that, or whether a smoke stack fell on him, he was going down. It’s called art, things happen for artistic reasons, not for physics reasons.