There are many iconic and quotable lines from “Titanic,” but director James Cameron recently revealed there was one unforgettable line Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t want to say.
When DiCaprio’s Jack climbs up to the bow of the ship and shouts “I’m the king of the world,” it was one of the more memorable scenes, but the actor wasn’t that into it.
“It was made up on the spot,” Cameron dished to BBC’s “Movies That Made Me” in an interview published Thursday. “I was in a crane basket, and we were losing the light. I had tried this and we had tried that, tried this line and that line and it was just coming up snake eyes. And I said, ‘Alright, I’ve got one for you. Just say, ‘I’m the king of the world,’ and just spread your arms out wide and just be in the moment and just love it and just celebrate it and love it.’ And he goes, ‘What?’ ”
Cameron explained the sudden direction didn’t go over well.
“I’m getting this over the walkie talkie,” he said. “ ‘I’m the king of the world,’ just say, ‘I’m the king of the world,’ but you’ve got to sell it!’ And he goes, ‘What?!’ I said, ‘Just (expletive) sell it.’ ”
Cameron was very pleased with his leading actor’s performance, he noted. The director tried to deliver the same line at the 1998 Oscars and was panned for doing so.
“The way he sells it, yes. Apparently that’s the difference between myself and Leonardo, he was able to sell the line,” Cameron joked.
Last year, he admitted in an interview with Vanity Fair that shouting out the line at the Oscars was off kilter.
“I now realize what was wrong with my choice to do that,” Cameron told the publication. “It wasn’t the exact content of the line as much as the fact that I was quoting my own movie, and I didn’t realize how that was wrong. . . . There’s a hubris in assuming that everybody in the audience has seen your movie, even though you won. Or that they’re actually all fans. It was all phrased pretty carefully, but the error was that I was actually acting prideful about winning, and with a reference to my own film.”
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