Director James Cameron revealed that Leonardo DiCaprio almost didn’t get the part of Jack in Titanic because he didn’t want to audition for the role. James reportedly told Leonardo, “You either read, or you don’t get the part.” (Also Read: Arbaaz Khan reveals he gave the first audition of his life for Tanaav: ‘I felt strange but took it as a challenge’)

“I remember there was a meeting with Leo. And then there was a screen test Leo,” the Avatar: The Way of Water director said in a video interview for GQ magazine about his film career. “The meeting was funny because I’m sitting in my conference room waiting to meet an actor, right? And I look around and all the women in the whole office are in the meeting for some reason. For example, there’s a female executive producer, okay, fine. But our accountant? Why was she in the meeting? They all wanted to meet Leo. It was hysterical. I looked around and said, ‘I think I already know the answer to the question here.’”

The Academy Award-winning filmmaker said Leonardo “charmed everyone” during the first meeting itself, including him. Still, the screen test question was important because the director wanted to see the chemistry between him and actor Kate Winslet, who was already signed to play Rose by then. “He came back a few days later and I set up the camera to record the video,” James said. “He didn’t know he was going to test. He thought it was another meeting to meet Kate. So I said, ‘Okay, we’ll just go to the next room, and we’ll go over some lines and I’ll film it.’ And he said, “You mean I’m reading?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Oh, I don’t read.” I shook his hand and said, ‘Thanks for stopping by.’”

It was then that Leonardo realized that reading was compulsory. “Wait wait wait. You mean if I don’t read I won’t get the part just like that.” the actor had asked. James Cameron had then explained to the actor what the movie is like, “a giant movie that takes two years of my life and you’re gone to do five other things while I do the post production and all the modeling and stuff. So I’m going to Don’t fuck up I make the wrong decision in casting so you either read or you don’t get the part.

All doubts were cleared when the director said action, as James Cameron recalled how Leonardo DiCaprio “turned into Jack and Kate just lit up and they went into this whole thing and he played the scene. Dark clouds had broken open, a ray of sunshine came down and lit up Jack. I’m like, ‘Okay, he’s the man.'”

Titanic would go on to achieve both critical and commercial success, winning eleven Oscars and becoming the highest-grossing film of all time. It is now the third highest grossing film with a total of $2.2 billion at the box office.

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