Back in the late-90s, James Cameron released Titanic, and history was made. The film went on to sweep the Oscars and stand as one of the most memorable films of all time. At the time, it was unparalleled in its scope and visuals.
And yet, there is one question that always comes up in discussions. Why in the hell didn’t Rose make room for Jack on the floating door at the end of the film? Fans who don’t know what I’m talking about may remember that the closing minutes of the film end with Jack and Rose in the ice-cold water. Rose is able to climb up a floating door and stay afloat, leaving poor Jack to freeze to death minutes later.
This is an argument that’s swept the internet for decades now. But what does the man himself, James Cameron, have to say about this? Speaking with Vanity Fair, Cameron said:
“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.”
So wait, there was no physical reason for it? Not so fast, angry commenter. If you’ll recall, the first thing the pair actually do is try to both fit on the door, but it sinks under their weight. This attention to detail wasn’t by accident.
“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.”
So there you go! It wouldn’t have worked because the driftwood door slab wouldn’t have floated under their weight. Theory put to rest.
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SOURCE: Vanity Fair