12 Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

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For years now, the media has been fixated on Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio’s relationship, which is why we’ve decided to take a look back to where it all began, the filming of Titanic. This iconic film went down in history with 14 Academy Awards and the most Oscar nods any film has ever received before. It’s pretty clear this best picture film stands the test of time as being one of the greatest films because almost 20 years later it’s still the second highest grossing film of all time. A film with such historical importance and an A-list cast makes for a lot of interesting behind-the-scenes facts. Here are a look 12 things you probably didn’t know about the movie Titanic.

12. On-Set Secrets

The piece of wood that Rose is floating on after the ship sunk was based on an actual artifact that survived and is on display at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Most of the decor on the ship was designed by consulting with the White Star Line, the original company that constructed and finished the original Titanic. Also, the scene where water rushes into the Grand Staircase had to be filmed in one take with no mistakes because the entire set and furnishings were going to be destroyed by the cold water.


11. Popular Demand

When the film went to theaters it was so popular that Paramount had to send out replacement reels because cinemas literally wore out their copies. Titanic was also the first film to be released on video while still being shown in theaters.

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10. Film Costs

It cost more money to make the film than it did to actually build the original ship back in 1912. The movie cost about $200 million, but when the ship was constructed it cost $7.5 million ($150 million with inflation). When filming ended, the ship was taken apart and sold as scrap metal.

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9. Film Extras

James Cameron provided more than 150 extras with names and back stories of real passengers onboard the Titanic back in 1912. All of the extras in the film were given a three-hour lecture on how to properly depict the mannerisms and behavior in 1912 and the entire film contains over 100 speaking parts with more than 1,000 extras.

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8. Jack Dawson is Unintentionally Real

After James Cameron wrote the script with the fictitious character of Jack Dawson, he found out that there was a real J. Dawson who died on the Titanic. The man’s name was Joseph Dawson and he was buried alongside many other Titanic victims in a cemetery in Nova Scotia. Since the film was made his gravestone has become the most visited in the cemetery.

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7. Tributes to Real Victims

The elderly couple who lies down in the bed as the water floods the room is supposed to be the real-life couple, Ida and Isidor Strauss, the owners of the Macy’s department store in New York who died on the Titanic. Ida was offered a lifeboat, but she refused to leave her husband behind and said, “As we have lived together, so we shall die together.”

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6. On Set Injuries

Kate Winslet was one of the only people who didn’t wear a wetsuit while filming. As a result, she got pneumonia and almost quit the production. Also, the water that the cast was jumping into and swimming in while the ship was sinking was actually just a giant pool only 3 feet deep. To make these scenes look more authentic and like the cast was actually in the freezing cold ocean, a powder was applied to their faces which crystallized when exposed to water.

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5. Sketching Scene

In the scene where Jack sketches Rose, the hands seen drawing the image aren’t actually Leo’s hands, but rather the hands of James Cameron. Also, all the drawings in Jack’s sketchbook that he carries around were actually done by James Cameron. The image was mirrored on screen because James Cameron is left-handed, but Leonardo DiCaprio is right-handed.

(c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

4. Scenes That Were Improvised

The scene with Jack and Rose spitting over the deck was almost entirely ad-libbed, meaning that Kate and Leo improved the whole conversation on the spot. This is also true for the moment when Kate spat in Billy Zane’s face. The line “I’m the king of the world!” was also ad-libbed and is now AFI’s 100 greatest movie quotes of all time. And when Jack is preparing to draw Rose, he stumbles on his words and said, “lie on that bed, uh I mean couch,” that was an actual mistake made by Leo. The line was supposed to just be, “Lie on that couch,” but James Cameron liked it, so he kept it.

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3. Costume Design

The coat Rose is seen wearing at the end of the film when the Titanic is sinking was made to be a size 8, while the rest of her gowns were made as a size 4. James Cameron had the coat made much larger so that Rose looked more vulnerable in the sinking scenes. Also the dress she wears on the final night when the ship sinks was made to look as good wet as it did dry. The costume designer for the film, Deborah Lynn Scott made 24 identical versions of the dress.

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2. Cast and Crew Pranks

Apparently, the cast liked to pull pranks on one another. On the final night shooting the film in Nova Scotia, someone mixed PCP (angel dust) into the clam chowder served at dinner to the cast and crew and 80 people were sent to the hospital with hallucinations.

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1. Ice Breaker

When Kate Winslet found out that she would have to be naked in front of Leonardo DiCaprio, she decided to break the ice and flash him the first time they met.

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Katherine G

Katherine G

Katherine is the Managing Editor for Health and Parenting, but she has a soft spot for entertainment. She loves binging shows on Netflix, reality TV is a guilty pleasure, and country music is her go-to playlist. When she's not writing, she's spending time outdoors, especially with her puppy Zoey!