The elderly couple seen hugging on the bed while water floods their room were the owners of Macy's department store in New York, Ida and Isidor Straus, both of whom died on the Titanic. Ida was offered a seat on a lifeboat but refused so that she could stay with her husband, saying, "As we have lived together, so we shall die together." There was a scene filmed that depicted this moment but was cut from the final version. In this film it is Rose who states "where you go, I go" but it was actually Ida who says this when refusing a lifeboat without her husband.
When Jack is preparing to draw Rose, he says to her, "Over on the bed...the couch." The line was scripted "Lie on that couch", but Leonardo DiCaprio made an honest mistake and James Cameron liked it so much he kept it in.
The scene in which Rose meets Jack to thank him for saving her life was improvised by the two actors at James Cameron's request, and the spitting scene was almost all ad-lib. Cameron also credits Kate Winslet with writing the heart-wrenching "This is where we first met" line during the final sinking, as well as suggesting Rose spit in Cal's face rather than (as scripted) jab him with a hairpin. No one told Billy Zane about this change, however, and his reaction to the spit is genuine.
The scenes set in 1912, i.e. the whole movie except the present-day scenes and the opening and ending credits, have a total length of two hours and forty minutes, the exact time it took for Titanic to sink. Also, the collision with the iceberg reportedly lasted 37 seconds, which is how long the collision scene is in the movie.
When Jack prevents Rose from committing suicide, he shares a story about how he once fell into freezing cold water while ice fishing and how it feels like "being stabbed with a thousand knives all over your body." This was an actual quote from a Titanic survivor describing the temperature of the North Atlantic water.
The hands seen sketching Rose are not Leonardo DiCaprio's, but director James Cameron's. In post-production, Cameron, who is left-handed, mirror-imaged the sketching shots so the artist would appear to be right-handed, like DiCaprio.
When James Cameron was writing the movie, he intended for the main characters Rose DeWitt Bukater and Jack Dawson to be entirely fictitious. It was only after the script was finished that he discovered that there had been a real "J. Dawson" who died aboard the Titanic. This "J. Dawson" was trimmer Joseph Dawson, who had been born September 1888 in Dublin, Ireland. His body was salvaged and buried at Fairview Lawn cemetery in Nova Scotia with many other Titanic victims. Today, his grave stone (#227) is the most widely visited in the cemetery.
At $200 million, the movie cost more than the Titanic itself. The cost to construct the ship in 1910-1912 was £1.5 million, equivalent to $7.5 million at the time and about $120 to $150 million in 1997 dollars.
James Cameron went on the dives to the real Titanic himself, and found it an overwhelming emotional experience to actually see it. He ended up spending more time with the ship than its living passengers did.
The post-sinking scenes were shot in a 350,000 gallon tank where the frozen corpses were created by applying a powder on the actors that then crystallized when exposed to water. Wax was applied to hair and clothes to create a wet look.
In the film, Molly Brown lends Jack a tuxedo that she has most likely purchased in Europe for her son who is supposedly the same size as Jack. The real Molly Brown did indeed have a son, Larry, who was 24 at the time that the Titanic sank.
Approximately 120 tons of water (triple what had been initially planned) were released for Eric Braeden's final scene. Braeden said that he has never been more terrified in his life than when he was preparing for it, as there was obviously no possible physical rehearsal.
When old Rose is looking at her drawing in the water, her original line was supposed to be "Wasn't I a hot number?", but both James Cameron and Gloria Stuart felt that this line was out of the character for Rose, so it was changed to the one in the final film.
On the final night of shooting in Nova Scotia, one or more pranksters mixed the dissociative hallucinogen PCP (angel dust) into the clam chowder served to the cast and crew. 80 people were taken ill, and more than 50 were hospitalized with hallucinations. When James Cameron realized what was happening, he forced himself to vomit before the drug took full effect. Bill Paxton felt listless for two weeks after the incident (although PCP's primary effects only last a few hours, the drug itself can take eight or more days to completely metabolize out of the body). The culprit(s) were never caught.
James Cameron instructed the actors playing the officers to keep order amongst the extras in the sinking scenes. Jonny Phillips ad-libbed the moment when he whips around with the gun and shouts "keep back, or I'll shoot you all like dogs!" After the take, James Cameron ran up to him and told him it was great and to do it again, and Phillips asked "What did I say?", having been too caught up in the moment to realize what he was doing.
The movie's line "I'm the king of the world!", which was ad-libbed by Leonardo DiCaprio, was voted as the #4 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by Premiere in 2007. The same was voted as the #100 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
When James Cameron decided to include real footage of the Titanic's remains on the seabed, he did not want to simply shoot from inside a submersible as had been done for the IMAX documentary Titanica (1995). To allow filming from outside the sub, Cameron's brother Mike Cameron and Panavision developed a deep-sea camera system capable of withstanding the 400 atmospheres of pressure at that depth.
Many of the "core extras" used for the movie took on characteristics of actual survivors. One scene where two little girls are loaded onto a lifeboat and the man says, "It's only for a little while" is based on testimony from one of the girls who survived.
This was the first film to be nominated twice for an Academy Award, for the portrayal of the same character: Kate Winslet received a Best Actress nomination for her role as Rose and Gloria Stuart received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her portrayal of the older Rose. The next time this happened was with the movie Iris (2001), which also starred Winslet.
Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Jason Barry injured themselves while filming the scene in which their characters pull up a bench in third class and use it to smash a gate open. DiCaprio threw out a shoulder, and Barry caught himself in the chin with the bench.
Jack has a line during the first-class dinner scene in which he asks Molly Brown which utensils to use for what. Because of the enormous amount of time spent shooting the scene, having to provide different angles and coverage for all the cast members at the table, Leonardo DiCaprio was so worn out towards the end that he picked up a fork and asked Kathy Bates, "Which one of these do I use to lobotomize myself?"
Kate Winslet was one of the few actors who didn't want to wear a wetsuit during the water scenes. As a result, she got pneumonia, and nearly quit the production. However, James Cameron persuaded her to stay.
During the corset scene, it is originally Rose who is suppose to be tightening her mother's corset. However, James Cameron and the actresses felt that the scene had much more of an effect of Rose being in the corset.
The piece of wooden paneling that Rose floated on after the sinking is based upon a genuine artifact that survived the sinking and is on display at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, though it was scaled larger to provide sufficient buoyancy as a life-raft for Rose.
The staircase is not technically accurate, being slightly larger in the film than it was in real life. This is because people in 1997 were a bit taller than in 1912 so they would have looked out of place on a staircase that fit the correct dimensions.
Rose laughs during the flying scene when Jack sings "Come Josephine in My Flying Machine," as if she recalls the song from before. This is because a deleted scene shows the two characters singing it as they come out of the 3rd class dance.
At the TED conference in February 2010, James Cameron stated: "Secretly, what I wanted to do was I wanted to dive to the real wreck of Titanic. And that's why I made the movie". The statement brought laughter and applause.
When the scene where a wall of water bursts through a doorway was first shot, James Cameron said that the 40,000 gallons of water dumped into the corridor set were not enough, and asked for triple that amount. The set had to be rebuilt to stand up under the additional weight of water.
In the scene of Rose looking through the corridors for Jack, the water used was actually from the Pacific Ocean at the Baja California, Mexico set. The water was so cold that when Rose gasps when she first dives into the water, it was actually Kate Winslet's genuine reaction to the frigid ocean.
In preference to hiring new extras all the time and repeatedly having to fit them for clothes and coach them in proper 1912 mannerisms, a group of 150 "core extras" was hired who would stay with the picture through the entire production. They and other performers learned proper 1912 behavior in a 3-hour course from Lynne Hockney, who was also the film's choreographer. Hockney also produced a video "Titanic Etiquette: A Time Traveler's Guide", which was then left playing continuously in the wardrobe department.
Rose, in her old age, owns a Pomeranian. A Pomeranian was one of only three dogs known to have survived the disaster. As the real ship sank, a passenger freed dogs from their kennels and a survivor later recalled a French bulldog swimming in the ocean. James Cameron filmed scenes portraying the doomed animals but cut them.
When Jack sneaks onto the first-class deck in search of Rose, we see a young boy playing with a top as his father looks on. The father is played by Titanic historian and author Don Lynch, of the Titanic Historical Society, who served as a consultant on the film. The scene is based on a famous photograph taken aboard Titanic during the second leg of the voyage, between Cherbourg and Queenstown (the photographer, Fr. Francis Browne, a Jesuit priest, left the ship when it docked briefly in Ireland). The boy, 6-year-old Robert Douglas Spedden and his father Frederic O. Spedden of Tuxedo Park, NY survived the sinking, but the boy died three years later in an auto accident in Maine, one of the first recorded in the state.
In the movie, Jack is a 3rd class passenger on the Titanic who sneaks his way up to first class with the hopes of never getting caught. In the real disaster in 1912, Third Class Passenger Hilda Maria Hellström, really did sneak up to first class out of curiosity and never got caught, however she was in her 3rd class cabin when the Titanic hit an iceberg and ended up surviving the sinking by boarding one of the last lifeboats to leave, Collapsible C.
The first class lounge was deemed to be too expensive a set to be built. As a miniature of it was required for the flooding scenes, one was built to quarter of the real size. This was then greenscreened as background for the scenes where the actors were seen sitting in the lounge.
James Cameron was adamant about not including any song in the film, even over the closing credits. Composer James Horner secretly arranged with lyricist Will Jennings and singer Céline Dion to write "My Heart Will Go On" and record a demo tape which he then presented to Cameron, who responded very favorably and included the song over the closing credits. The song went on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
The opening was originally going to be an Irishman painting the word 'Titanic'. During that same scene, it is not, as believed by some, a real tape from her departure in 1912. James Cameron wanted to use actual footage, but at the time there was none. So he attempted to create what he thought took place. However after the movie was released, some actual footage was discovered.
Only the starboard side of the exterior set was completed. In the scenes portraying the ship at the Southampton dock, all shots were reversed to give the appearance of the port side of the ship, as it was actually docked in 1912. This required the painstaking construction of reversed costumes and signage to complete the illusion, which was achieved by reversing the image in post-production. One cast member joked, "I wasn't dyslexic before starting this show. I am now."
The Swedish phrases that Sven and his buddy exchange during the card game translate into the following: "I can't believe you bet our tickets! Shut up!" When grabbing Jack by the throat: "You damn weasel!" And after punching his buddy in the face: "You damn idiot! What the hell are we gonna do? I'm gonna kill you!"
Production of the film began in 1995 when James Cameron shot footage of the real wreck of the Titanic. He was able to persuade 20th Century Fox to invest in the film by convincing them that the publicity surrounding a real-life dive to the wreck would be really beneficial to the production.
In the scene in the beginning where the captain orders full-speed ahead and the shot moves down into the boiler room, the set was really just about three boilers but the film makers had huge mirrors installed to visualize a great big long room. (In this scene you can see workers shoving in coal, and about 20 feet down the room you can see the mirror image of the workers).
James Cameron wrote the role of Lewis Bodine with his friend Lewis Abernathy in mind. When he couldn't find an actor to play the part, he went to Abernathy and asked, essentially, if he would play himself. Abernathy replied, "If you want to f*** up your movie by casting me, buddy, alright."
The original release date was 25 July 1997. When Harrison Ford, whose upcoming film, Air Force One (1997), was scheduled to be released the same day, found out, he demanded that Paramount push the release date to a different time. Paramount, who had distributed many successful films of Ford's, agreed, being worried that Ford would never do another film for them again.
When the stern of the ship is vertical, Chief Baker Joughin (Liam Tuohy, in white) is drinking from a flask. Joughin was one of few to survive the freezing water, allegedly due to the alcohol (but this is disputed as unlikely since alcohol is known to accelerate hypothermia, not to help resist cold). The scene was added after Liam showed the flask to James Cameron explaining that it was a family heirloom as old as the Titanic itself.
There was a scene storyboarded, in which Rose was to walk off the Carpathia and disappear into the crowds. Since the budget had run so high, however, James Cameron had to cut this scene due to the expense of having almost 1,000 extras brought to New York to film just 30-seconds.
Initially, Céline Dion didn't want to record "My Heart Will Go On" because she didn't want to sing another film song and she didn't like it when James Horner first played it to her; she disliked Horner's singing abilities. After she was convinced by her husband René Angélil, she stepped in and recorded the song in just one take, so the song that was used over the end credits and later released is actually a demo.
In a 2012 interview on MTV News, shortly before the movie was re-released in 3D, Kate Winslet admitted that she strongly dislikes the song "My Heart Will Go On," which was recorded by Céline Dion and prominently included in the film. She said about it, "I wish I could say, 'Oh listen, everybody! It's the Celine Dion song!' But I don't. I just have to sit there, you know, kind of straight-faced with a massive internal eye roll... It haunts me."
Lindsay Lohan auditioned for the role of Cora Cartmell. Lohan, who was then an unknown and was only 8 years old at the time casting took place, was the top choice for the role. However, James Cameron felt that Lohan's fiery red hair would confuse people into thinking she was related to the characters Rose and Ruth, who both had fiery red hair. Alexandrea Owens was cast instead.
In 2012, Entertainment Weekly reported that when the movie was re-released in 3D, James Cameron didn't update any effects or fix any errors except one. When astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of New York's Hayden Planetarium, first saw the movie in its original theatrical release, he noticed that the configuration of stars in the night sky during Rose's night in the water bore no resemblance to what the sky really looked like over that place on that night (and, in fact, the same incorrect set of stars had just been duplicated in post-production). Tyson wrote a letter to Cameron explaining the error; several years later, upon meeting Cameron in person, Tyson repeated his complaint; and then at an event that occurred at the Hayden Planetarium, Tyson spoke about it to Cameron a third time. Finally, a post-production technician working on the re-release called Tyson and asked him to provide a picture of what the sky really would have looked like, and Tyson's star image was used to fix that shot. Before the shot was fixed, the stars were arranged to look like the Heart of the Ocean necklace.
The scenes during which Thomas Andrews chastises Second Office Charles Lightoller for sending the boats away without filling them to capacity is the only scene in the entire film in which the actors' breath was not digitally added in later.
In 2012, 100 years after Titanic sank, the entire wreck site was mapped for the first time. Until then, only the bow, stern, and areas in between were explored. Upon completing this, Disaster Investigator James R. Chiles virtually and in 3D reassembled Titanic. He concluded that Titanic was not poorly built, was not built of inferior materials, and had no design flaw. In fact she floated longer than her builders expected once she struck the iceberg. Even a modern-day battleship would not survive the sideswipe blow the iceberg gave Titanic that night. Also, he concluded that the stern end likely corkscrewed to the sea floor once under water.
According to the cast and crew commentary on the Special Edition DVD, the first scene filmed between Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet was the nude scene where he draws her and the last shot of the film was the flooding of the captain's wheelhouse. It was a three second sequence that required multiple cameras and safety divers and a stuntman to play Captain Smith.
James Cameron, being a certified scuba diver, has admitted that the reason why he wanted to make a movie about "a big ship that sinks" was because he just wanted to dive to the real wreck of the Titanic.
During the part when Rose and Jack are at the bow of the ship when Rose says "I'm flying, Jack," the sunset was real and not CGI. James Cameron said that it was the perfect time to do that scene before the sunset goes away.
James Cameron originally wanted Enya to compose the score for the film and even went so far as to assemble a rough edit using her music. When Enya declined, Cameron hired James Horner (who had composed the music for Cameron's previous film Aliens (1986)) to write the score. Horner stated that the tensions with Cameron were so high during post-production of "Aliens" that he assumed he and Cameron would never work together again. However, Cameron was so impressed with Horner's score from Braveheart (1995) that he was willing to forget the past experience. According to some accounts, Horner independently decided the film's score should be done in Enya's style. As a result, several pieces of the score sound very similar to some well-known Enya songs, in particular her theme song for Far and Away (1992) (Book of Days).
James Cameron infamously threatened to fire anyone who would dare get out of the tank for a bathroom break while shooting the lifeboat scenes, leading to more than a few actors (including Kate Winslet) relieving themselves in the water.
The rooms that Caledon Hockley, Rose DeWitt Bukater and Ruth DeWitt Bukater occupied (B52, B54 and B56) were actual rooms on the real Titanic. They were originally booked by J.P. Morgan, but he canceled before the ship sailed. Morgan had a controlling interest in International Mercantile Marine, a conglomerate that owned the White Star Line. Bruce Ismay booked the rooms following Morgan's cancellation. (See Goofs.)
In the scene where the lifeboats are rowing to the Carpathia, there is a brief scene that shows Fifth Officer Lowe waving a green flare and shouting something, but for dramatic reasons the diologue is muted. If you were to read his lips, you can tell he is saying "Come on, put your backs into it, men. We've been saved! Row!"
In the movie the original script included scenes of newlywed couple Daniel and Mary Marvin, Daniel being a cameraman and son of Henry Marvin, co-founder of the movie production company American Mutoscope & Biograph. Daniel Marvin died aboard the Titanic, but not without photographing some of the only existing film of the liner.
The deep-sea camera held only 12 minutes' worth of film, but each dive took many hours. To make the best use of his resources, James Cameron had a 1/33 scale model of the wreck constructed and used it to rehearse each dive. The Russian sub operators would walk around the model ship holding model subs in their hands as Cameron explained the shots he wanted.
Fay Wray was originally offered the role of the older Rose but turned it down, saying, "I think to have done this film would have been a tortuous experience altogether". Hollywood legend Ann Rutherford also turned it down.
Jack's portrait of the one-legged prostitute is actually visible for two frames as he turns the page to his sketch of "Madam Bijoux". James Cameron decided not to show the portrait as he thought the audience would imagine something better.
At the party in steerage, a foreign-speaking man is speaking with Rose and she says "I'm sorry, I can't understand you." The man is Swedish, probably a friend of Sven's, and he's saying to her "Talar fröken svenska?" In English that translates to "Does the miss/lady speak Swedish?" which she obviously doesn't.
Famous American author Morgan Robertson published a novella titled The Wreck of the Titan in 1898. It is a fictional story about a large passenger liner that struck an iceberg while sailing in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Ironically, the story line in Robertson's book contains very striking resemblances to the events of the RMS Titanic, despite it being written fourteen years earlier.
The detached stern section of the full-size set was moved onto a separate tilting platform which would allow it to be rapidly turned vertical for the final phase of sinking. There were 10 takes, each requiring 100 stunt players to fall from or along the set while 1,000 extras were attached to the railings by safety harnesses.
The scale model of the under water wrecked ship, has been on display in the Titanic museum in Branson, MO for a number of years. In August 2011, it will be removed and taken back to Hollywood where it is to be used to film the new Titanic 3-D movie.
A number of scenes are arranged and in some cases scripted almost identically to similar sequences in A Night to Remember (1958). This is particularly true of these scenes: - Thomas Andrews telling Capt. Smith the sinking is "a mathematical certainty"; - The Titanic's band preparing to depart at the end, only to turn around and regroup as Hartley begins playing "Nearer My God to Thee" by himself (though a different version of the song is used in the 1958 film). - A shot of Ismay in a lifeboat as the Titanic sinks behind him. - Thomas Andrews looking at a painting as Titanic prepares to sink - Andrews encountering a man by the Grand Staircase and telling him the ship is doomed (in this film, he tells Rose).
The "full-size" ship exterior set was constructed in a tank on a beach south of Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico. Construction started on the 85th anniversary of the real Titanic's launch - May 31, 1996 (see also A Night to Remember (1958)). To reduce costs, the number of instances of some repeated components (such as windows) was reduced, and other parts (such as the funnels and lifeboats) were built at 90% scale to produce the correct visual appearance. The set was oriented to face into the prevailing wind so that the smoke from the funnels would blow the right way.
During the sinking of the actual Titanic, there was concern that the davits might not be strong enough to lower the boats fully loaded, although they had in fact been tested under such a weight. The davits in the film, which can be seen flexing under the weight, were made under the same dimensions as originally designed by the White Star Line.
During World War I, Titanic's former Second Officer Charles Lightoller served in the Royal Navy Reserve in multiple vessels (including 3 commands). Despite his distinguished record (he would be decorated twice for valor in combat), he would never command a merchant vessel for White Star or any other shipping line. After leaving merchant service, he owned a small motor yacht for much of the rest of his life. His was one of the many private citizens who helped in the evacuation of British and Allied forces from Dunkirk, France; he and his two sons would be credited for evacuating approximately 130 Allied personnel in the dangerously overloaded vessel.
In a recently-completed investigation by Tim Maltin, he reveals that the reason the iceberg was not seen was due to a "cold water mirage." This is the opposite of a desert mirage. The multiple layers of cold and warm air cloaked the iceberg. Normally the iceberg could have been seen as far as 12 miles, giving Titanic 30 minutes to avoid. This is revealed in his e-book "Titanic: A Deceiving Night" and his Smithsonian documentary "Titanic's Final Mystery." This also explains why the Californian failed to receive the distress message "Come at once; we are sinking" that crew on Titanic signaled with Morse lamps.
The only real decks were the boat deck and A deck, with a facade of plating and lighted portholes completed only on the starboard side. So many lights were required that cinematographer Russell Carpenter commented: "And you walk inside, and 70 miles of one kind of cable and 70 miles of another kind all add up to this Terry Gilliam vision of the telephone company of the 1950s."
After the ship breaks in half, the bow section sinks rapidly. To film this, the full-size set was in fact divided into sections. But the bow section would not sink fast enough, due to its own buoyancy and the narrow clearance between it and the tank. James Cameron observed that once "God's 10,000,000 kW light" had risen they would have to wait until the next night, and suggested sinking the set, letting the air space between the two decks fill with water, then raising the set again and quickly sinking it before the water ran out. This worked.
A 162-foot crane originally intended for construction and lighting was mounted on railway tracks and used for most high-level exterior shots, rather than expensive helicopters. The camera platform was big enough for a gyro-stabilized Wescam, a Steadicam and a hand-held camera. James Cameron directed atop it to be able to see the entire set.
In the original script, after Jack, Fabio and Tommy break down the locked gate, Rose steps through the wreckage and calmly orders the steward to escort the steerage passengers to the boat deck immediately. As filming progressed, James Cameron became impressed with Jason Barry's performance in a relatively small role and wanted to give him a stronger scene. With Kate Winslet's blessing, Cameron changed the gate breakdown scene to give Tommy the last word instead of Rose.
Eager to get the role of Rose, Kate Winslet sent James Cameron daily notes from England, went to LA and kept phoning him. "You don't understand! I am Rose! I don't know why you're even seeing anyone else!"
All the scenes where there is an exterior sunset shot were filmed at the Fox Studios set in Baja California, Mexico. The set was constructed specifically for the film, as no studio was large enough at the time to encompass the almost full-scale replication of the ship.
To sink the Grand Staircase into the purpose-built 5 million gallon tank, 90,000 gallons of water were dumped through it as it was lowered into the tank. Such was the volume that the staircase was ripped from its steel-reinforced foundations. This is possibly what really happened to the Grand Staircase during the sinking in 1912. When the wreck was searched following its discovery in 1985, nothing remained of the staircase.
Although a sizable publicity campaign had already been prepared, the release of the film was delayed from summer to Christmas 1997 as some elements in post-production (especially the special effects) took longer to complete than anticipated.
In a deleted scene, called Ismay's guilt, it shows the life boats arriving near the Carpathia, and Bruce Ismay gets on and he looks around as the sad theme plays and everyone in the crowd is watching him. In real life he did the same thing. And in later interviews he "couldn't bear the sight of the Titanic sinking". After the Titanic disaster he kept a low profile. On October 17th, 1937, Joseph Bruce Ismay died of a stroke and is buried at Putney Vale London cemetery.
Several scenes show all four funnels smoking but the smoke from the fourth funnel is fewer and cleaner. The White Star Lines competitors all had four and they did not want to lose face. So the fourth funnel was designed as additional storage space that was used on the first trip for livestock and to provide ventilation.
The line, "I'd rather be his whore than your wife", was originally spoken by Peggy Lipton as Norma Jennings in Twin Peaks (1990). Coincidentally, Billy Zane and David Warner, who played Cal Hockley and Spicer Lovejoy respectively, appeared in that episode.
The completed film ignores the freighter Californian, which had stopped for the night due to the ice hazard and was within sight of the Titanic throughout the sinking (the Californian's warning had been received and sent to the bridge but was not placed in the chartroom). An early version of the script included a scene on the Californian, but James Cameron cut out the subplot after filming it to shorten running time. The two actors in the scene on the Californian were Adam Barker as radio operator Cyril Evans and Peter John White as Third Officer Groves.
This was the first time the Best Song Oscar (for Céline Dion's "My Heart Will Go On") was won by a non-musical Best Picture winner. Best Song Oscar had been won by Best Picture winner only twice before (Going My Way (1944) and Gigi (1958), both musicals).
Of the special effects houses involved, VIFX were responsible for the icy, visible breath of the passengers floating in the water after the ship sank. They also worked on the engine room sequence and a lot of the workers seen therein. POP Film handled digital face replacements and matte paintings, Banned from the Ranch took care of some underwater shots, CIS Hollywood were responsible for sky replacements and bluescreen composites, whilst Digital Domain - James Cameron's own company - dealt with the bulk of the big showcase special effects.
One of the Irish passengers, Patrick A. O'Keefe, was a young man who boarded the Titanic when he was 21 years of age. Just days before he entered the Titanic, he had horrific dreams of the ship sinking and nearly canceled his ticket. However he decided to board on the ship anyway. Once the Titanic was sinking, he managed to survive on the "collapsible B" life raft. He died in 1939 in Manhattan from unknown causes at the age of 48.
Upon sighting the iceberg, the ship's officers shout 'Hard to starboard' at the helmsman, but the helmsman turns the wheel to port. This looks wrong but the command 'Hard to starboard' actually refers to 'Tiller to starboard', i.e. Turn to port. The ship did actually alter course to port and then Murdoch attempted to 'starboard the ship' to swing the stern clear of the iceberg. Titanic's steering followed the old British practice (derived from sailing ships) that turning the wheel to starboard would make the rudder, and thus the ship, turn to port. Conversely, turning the wheel to port, as the helmsman is shown doing, would make the ship turn to starboard. However the engine room stops and reverses the propeller shafts as if they are turning the ship to starboard.
Long shots showing the whole ship's exterior were produced by Digital Domain. A 1/20 scale model was filmed and computer-generated images of people, ocean and smoke were added. For one scene, James Cameron instructed them to "imagine we're making a commercial for White Star Lines and we need beautiful shots sweeping around the ship from a helicopter."
In all of recorded maritime history, no ship ever had a sideswipe collision with an iceberg like Titanic suffered. And no ship has had such an accident since. The force of the blow was likened to a C4 explosion something most modern ships would struggle to survive.
20th Century Fox acquired 40 acres of waterfront south of Playas de Rosarito in Mexico and started building a brand new studio in May 31 1996. A 17 million gallon tank was built for the exterior of the reconstructed ship, providing 270 degrees of ocean view. The ship was built to full scale but production design removed redundant sections on the superstructure and the forward well deck so that it would fit the tank. The remaining sections were filled in digitally. The lifeboats and funnels were shrunk by 10%. While the boat deck and the A-deck were full working sets, the rest of the ship was steel plating. Contained within that was a 50 foot lifting platform for the ship to tilt during the sinking sequences, while towering above that was a 162 feet tall tower crane on 600 feet of railtrack. This was used as a construction, lighting and camera platform.
There was one "crucial historical fact" James Cameron chose to omit from the film - the ship that was close to the Titanic, but had turned off its radio for the night and did not hear their SOS calls. "Yes, the [SS] Californian. That wasn't a compromise to mainstream filmmaking. That was really more about emphasis, creating an emotional truth to the film," stated Cameron. He said there were aspects of retelling the sinking that seemed important in pre and post-production, but turned out to be less important as the film evolved. "The story of the Californian was in there; we even shot a scene of them switching off their Marconi radio set," said Cameron. "But I took it out. It was a clean cut, because it focuses you back onto that world. If Titanic is powerful as a metaphor, as a microcosm, for the end of the world in a sense, then that world must be self-contained."
Tom Wilkinson was considered for the role of Lovejoy, which eventually went to David Warner. Wilkinson went on to do The Full Monty (1997), which became one of Titanic's contenders at the Oscars next year.
Fox executives suggested an hour of specific cuts from the three-hour film. They argued the extended length would mean fewer showings, thus less money even though long epics are more likely to help directors win Oscars. James Cameron refused, telling Fox, "You want to cut my movie? You're going to have to fire me! You want to fire me? You're going to have to kill me!" The executives did not want to start over, because it would mean the loss of their entire investment, but they also initially rejected Cameron's offer of forfeiting his share of the profits as an empty gesture; they felt that profits would be unlikely.
One of the Swedes in the beginning of the film, Erik Holland, is really Norwegian, and currently works as a doorman at a nightclub in Stavanger, Norway. The other, Jari Kinnunen, is an actor from Finland. His Swedish is so heavily accented as to be incomprehensible to Swedes.
James Cameron regular Jenette Goldstein appears in period costume here. Previously she had showed up in period costume at the auditions for Aliens (1986), her first movie with Cameron, thinking it was a period movie.
The men that Jack and Fabrizio win the tickets from at the beginning were named Olaf and Sven. Frozen (2013) has an Olaf and Sven as well, and both movies deal with freezing temperatures. Both movies were also nominated for Oscars.
In one of the deleted scenes, Brock's manager Bobby tells him that they're over-budget, the partners depending on them are pissed, and that they're in serious danger of getting shut down. James Cameron later noted that when he was writing this, he had no idea he would be hearing all these things when the production ran into problems.
According to James Cameron, Fox was initially dubious when he pitched the film. "They were like, 'Oooooohkaaaaaay - a three-hour romantic epic? Sure, that's just what we want. Is there a little bit of Terminator in that? Any Harrier jets, shoot-outs, or car chases?' I said, 'No, no, no. It's not like that.'"
Only the starboard side of the set below the superstructure was fully built and riveted. When it came time to film the scenes in Southampton, everything had to be backwards so it could be easily mirrored in post-production, even down to the buttons on people's clothing.
The climactic scene, which features the breakup of the ship directly before it sinks, as well as its final plunge to the bottom of the Atlantic, involved a tilting full-sized set, 150 extras and 100 stunt performers. James Cameron criticized previous Titanic films for depicting the final plunge of the liner as sliding gracefully underwater. He "wanted to depict it as the terrifyingly chaotic event that it really was". When carrying out the sequence, people needed to fall off the increasingly tilting deck, plunging hundreds of feet below and bouncing off of railings and propellers on the way down. A few attempts to film this sequence with stunt people resulted in some minor injuries and Cameron halted the more dangerous stunts. The risks were eventually minimized "by using computer generated people for the dangerous falls".
At the time of filming, it was believed that the ship broke into two pieces (as shown in the CGI animation at the beginning of the film), but as of 2016, it is now known that the ship broke into three pieces, the famous bow section, the imploded and crumpled stern section, and the middle, double-hull of the ship, which had planed away and accounts for approximately 100' of her total 883' of length and sits far from the wreckage, near the outer rim of the debris field. James Cameron acknowledges this error, but defends his description of the sinking in the film due to the fact that the mid-section was simply not known about at the time. As such, the film is retrospectively historically inaccurate.
An enclosed 5,000,000 US gallons (19,000,000 L) tank was used for sinking interiors, in which the entire set could be tilted into the water. In order to sink the Grand Staircase, 90,000 US gallons (340,000 L) of water were dumped into the set as it was lowered into the tank. Unexpectedly, the waterfall ripped the staircase from its steel-reinforced foundations, although no one was hurt. The 744-foot (227 m) long exterior of the RMS Titanic had its first half lowered into the tank, but being the heaviest part of the ship meant it acted as a shock absorber against the water; to get the set into the water, James Cameron had much of the set emptied and even smashed some of the promenade windows himself. After submerging the dining saloon, three days were spent shooting Lovett's ROV traversing the wreck in the present.
The post-sinking scenes in the freezing Atlantic were shot in a 350,000 US gallons (1,300,000 L) tank, where the frozen corpses were created by applying a powder on actors that crystallized when exposed to water, and wax was coated on hair and clothes.
Jack kisses Rose's hand three times during the film. The first time was when they meet at the staircase as to say "hello" before walking into the formal dinner party. The second time was at the end when they are both in the water as to say "goodbye". Additionally he kisses her hand when he slips her the note to meet him at the clock.
First movie to be nominated in all seven technical categories (Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Costume Design, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Visual Effects) at the Academy Awards and as of 2016 the only movie to win in all technical categories.
The Screen Actors Guild decided, following an investigation, that nothing was inherently unsafe about the set. Additionally, Leonardo DiCaprio said there was no point when he felt he was in danger during filming.
James Horner additionally wrote the song "My Heart Will Go On" in secret with Will Jennings because James Cameron did not want any songs with singing in the film. Céline Dion agreed to record a demo with the persuasion of her husband René Angelil. Horner waited until Cameron was in an appropriate mood before presenting him with the song. After playing it several times, Cameron declared his approval, although worried that he would have been criticized for "going commercial at the end of the movie". Cameron also wanted to appease anxious studio executives and "saw that a hit song from his movie could only be a positive factor in guaranteeing its completion".
If measured by ticket sales rather than dollar gross, this would rank as the fifth most attended film of all time domestically, having sold an estimated 128 million tickets in its initial run and another 7 million after its 2012 reissue. It was the most attended film of the 1990s and the most attended film since E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) (136 million estimated tickets).
Lorcan Cranitch was the first choice for the role of Thomas Andrews after James Cameron was impressed with his performance as DS Jimmy Beck in Cracker (1993). Victor Garber was cast after Cranitch turned the role down.
Jack mentions to Astor that he is of the "Chippewa Falls Dawsons". This is the nearest city to Lake Wissota which he mentions earlier, when he is saving Rose, as a lake near his childhood home. His childhood home would most likely be Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, United States.
Of the seven actors who portrayed the ship's officers in the film, Edward Fletcher who starred as 6th Officer Moody was the only one of the group who wasn't of British origin. He was born in Massachusetts.
When the Oscars for "Best Sound Effects Editing" were presented for this film, the oversized envelope was given to category presenter Mike Myers by Bart the Bear, the enormous grizzly who appeared on stage with his owner/trainer Doug Seus (March 23, 1998 / Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles).
On the final night of shooting in Nova Scotia a dangerous prank was played that saw PCP (the dissociative hallucinogen 'angel dust') mixed into the clam chowder served to the cast and crew. 80 people were became ill, and more than 50 were hospitalized suffering hallucinations. When James Cameron realized what was happening, he forced himself to vomit before the drug took full effect. Bill Paxton felt listless for two weeks after the incident (although PCP's primary effects only last a few hours, the drug itself can take eight or more days to completely metabolize out of the body). The culprit(s) were never caught.
Paul Rudd auditioned for the lead male role because his own father had been an avid Titanic historian. Despite his being able to reel off factual technical stats about the great ship, the casting team remained unimpressed.
Even though the film brought them great fame, both Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet are now embarrassed by their performances in this film. Winslet called her American accent "awful" and feels that her acting "could have been better", while DiCaprio called himself a "young punk" in this film.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
A 2012 episode of Mythbusters MythBusters: Titanic Survival (2012) tested whether or not Jack could have joined Rose on the floating door without submerging it and therefore survive the story. As it turned out, he could have, particularly if they strapped Rose's life vest underneath the door to add buoyancy. James Cameron, who appeared on the episode, maintained that Jack needed to die for thematic reasons, but conceded that he could have used a smaller door to make it more plausible.
As originally scripted, Cal was intended to actually find Rose aboard the Carpathia after the sinking. Rose was to tell him to let her mother know that she died on the Titanic, and that he would leave her alone for the rest of her life.
Considerable controversy arose when James Cameron depicted the suicide of First Officer Murdoch. While Cameron did apologize to Murdoch's family members for the upset the scene caused them, he still kept the shot in the film, stating simply that while no one could prove that it did happen, neither could anyone prove that it didn't. Murdoch's body was never recovered, but it is generally agreed that he either froze to death in the water or went down with the ship.
When Rose is afloat on the wood looking up at the stars, there is a vague image of the necklace. It is outlined by brighter stars shaping the heart loosely, and a few bright stars shaping the chain. This shot is omitted in the 3D re-release, in which it is replaced with a shot of how the stars really looked like in 1912.
When we last see Cal's bodyguard Lovejoy in the finished film, he is hanging onto the side rail of the Titanic as it is breaking in half, with the side of his head appearing quite bloody. A scene had been cut that explains how Lovejoy got to look so bloodied and disheveled. The existing scene where Cal chases Jack and Rose down the Grand Staircase, shooting at them and then runs out of bullets (prior to realizing he put his coat which contains the diamond on Rose), was actually supposed to continue, where Cal hands Lovejoy the gun and tells him that if he gets the diamond from Rose, he can keep it. Lovejoy then loads the gun and goes hunting for them in the dining room. James Cameron states on the 3-Disc Special Edition DVD that includes the scene, that it was not only considered much too long, but preview audiences didn't buy the fact that Lovejoy turns into a murderous villain trying to get a diamond from Jack and Rose as the ship is sinking (and they're ALL liable to die anyway). Lovejoy's head gets bloodied when Jack catches him off guard, crashes Lovejoy's head through a glass window and roughs him up a bit before he and Rose run away.
Danny Nucci (Fabrizio) stated that there were several different versions of his death that were scripted. One of them would have involved him swimming up to Cal's swamped lifeboat and begging to be let aboard, saying it was his destiny to go to America. At that point Cal was supposed to have knocked him unconscious with his oar and tell him "IT'S THAT WAY!"
An alternative ending was shot, in which old Rose shows Brock the diamond before she throws it into the sea. James Cameron didn't use it, because it took away too much closure for the character of Rose.
Cal's snide comments notwithstanding, Rose intuitively has quite an eye for art. She bought herself a canvas considered one of the most influential paintings of the 20th century: Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (The Ladies of Avignon). During the sinking, it is shown floating in Rose's cabin -but actually it has been on exhibit safe and dry for decades at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City (see Goofs).
The bedtime story the Irish mother tells her children is the story of "Oisin and Niamh," a story about a mortal man who falls in love with a goddess and lives with her for 300 years in the land of eternal youth and beauty, Tir Na Nog, before returning home and dying when he steps off his horse. The choice seems particularly apt when considering that though Jack died, his love story was immortalized with Rose, who lived on.
In order to visit Rose as she's touring the bridge with Thomas Andrews and Cal on the day of the sinking, Jack steals a coat and hat belonging to a first class passenger named A.L. Ryerson. A.L. Ryerson (Arthur Larned Ryerson) was a real 1st class Titanic passenger who boarded in Cherbourg with his wife Mrs. Emily Maria Ryerson and three of their five children including their son John Borie Ryerson. The Ryerson's stayed in staterooms B57, 63, and 66 and the family purchased their tickets from the White Star Line for a total of 262 pounds 7 shillings. The scene in which Jack steal's the coat depicts a famous picture of a father and his young son playing with a top on Titanic's deck. The scene in the movie takes place on April 14, 1912, the day of the sinking. The original photo however was taken on the day of the sailing, and it's generally accepted that it was the Spedden who appear in the picture. Originally from Harford, PA the Ryersons were traveling aboard the Titanic to Cooperstown, NY. Emily and the children were rescued aboard life boat 4, but Arthur perished in the sinking.
When Mr. Ismay is being lowered down in one of the lifeboats, the band is playing Orpheus from the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus descended to Hell to rescue Eurydice, his wife from a life of misery in the underworld. Since the camera shows Ismay being lowered at the time, its almost like he's descending into his own personal Hell. Because if it weren't for his insistence on speeding up, the Titanic never would have hit the iceberg. So he gets to watch it sink while the lifeboat slowly sails away.