DiCaprio would be catapulted to superstardom from the role, despite having reservations about it early on
James Cameron had a green light from 20th Century Fox. Now he needed to find his leads.
While British actress Kate Winslet actively campaigned to be in Cameron's film, Leonardo DiCaprio was coming off a somewhat successful film Romeo + Juliet alongside the young Claire Danes.
His career was clearly picking up, and if Titanic was a failure, it could damage Leo's reputation permanently.
When Leo arrived for screen tests, he reportedly told Cameron he was concerned the dialogue wouldn't reflect as well as he wanted, because the script was "a bit light" for him.
Cameron brushed him off: "You're reading."
This is reconstructed in the opening of Episode 9 of BLOCKBUSTER: THE STORY OF JAMES CAMERON — the award-winning "biopic podcast" series, starring The Walking Dead's Ross Marquand, from filmmaker and journalist Matt Schrader.
Leo and Kate had an immediate spark of chemistry in their screen test, and both were told they got the job.
BLOCKBUSTER is winner of Adweek's Creative Podcast of the Year, and earned two Webby Honorees and NYF Radio Awards, including for Best Podcast Miniseries.
Despite having fewer lines than Winslet, DiCaprio would steal away the most memorable line in the movie — a bellowing, joyous howl: "I'm the king of the world!"
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Series creator Matt Schrader (Twitter): http://twitter.com/mattschrader