"Titanic" came out in December 1997, so the 20th anniversary is this coming month. James Cameron remastered the blockbuster and he's re-releasing it in theaters starting this Friday, Dec. 1. Vanity Fair talked to Cameron about the making of the film, and got him to address DoorGate (again):
Vanity Fair: One question that people ask me a lot about Titanic, and I'm assuming they ask you this a lot, is at the end, why doesn't Rose (Kate Winslet) make room for Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) on the door?
James Cameron: And the answer is very simple because it says on page 147 [of the script] that Jack dies. Very simple. . . . Obviously it was an artistic choice, the thing was just big enough to hold her, and not big enough to hold him . . . I think it's all kind of silly, really, that we're having this discussion 20 years later. But it does show that the film was effective in making Jack so endearing to the audience that it hurts them to see him die. 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.
Vanity Fair: Well, you're usually such a stickler for physics . . .
James Cameron: I am. 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.
Since Cameron is a tech-nerd, in a good way, it's fitting that they pressed him on the "physics" of survival for two people. It is a valid question. Fans have been thought for years that there was room for two. There have been re-enactments to test the theory and everything. ("Game of Thrones" fans also referenced the scene during a battle last season.) But Cameron insists -- for both art and science -- Jack had to die.
But since Jack said to "never let go," you can rest assured fans will still cling to the idea that he could've lived.
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