Leonardo DiCaprio's Attitude Almost Cost Him His 'Titanic' Role

James Cameron didn't quite feel the magic at first.

We all know (and love) Leonardo DiCaprio's Jack Dawson, but in a new interview with GQ ahead of Avatar: The Way of Water, director James Cameron said that his Titanic role almost didn't happen — all because of Leo's attitude. In a new video shared by the men's magazine, the famed director shared a personal anecdote about DiCaprio (and how he almost nabbed Gwyneth Paltrow for the role of Rose DeWitt-Bukater until he met Kate Winslet).

Leonardo DiCaprio Kate Winslet Titanic

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In the story, Cameron said he immediately fell in love with Winslet, but that it took him a bit to warm up to DiCaprio. Naturally, he shared the well-known anecdote about how every lady in the office fell head-over-heels for a young DiCaprio, but went on to say that his cocky attitude was a turn-off.

"There was a meeting with Leo and then there was a screen test with Leo," Cameron started. "The meeting was funny because I am sitting in my conference room, waiting to meet an actor. And I look around, and all the women in the entire office are in the meeting. They all wanted to meet Leo. It was hysterical."

When DiCaprio came back, things didn't quite go as planned for either party. DiCaprio thought he wouldn't have to read for the role and Cameron insisted that he would, in fact, have to go through the whole process. 

"So he came back a couple of days later, and I had the camera set up to record the video," Cameron recalled. "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 in the next room, and we'll run some lines and I'll video it.' And he said, 'You mean, I'm reading?' I said, 'Yeah.' He said, 'Oh, I don't read.' I shook his hand and said, 'Thanks for coming by.' And he said, 'Wait, wait, wait. If I don't read, I don't get the part? Just like that?' And I said, 'Oh, yeah. Come on. This is a giant movie that is going to take two years of my life, and you'll be gone doing five other things while I'm doing post-production. So, I'm not going to fuck it up by making the wrong decision in casting. So, you're going to read, or you're not going to get the part.'"

Of course, the rest is cinematic history. DiCaprio landed the role and would go on to become half of a cinematic couple that's referenced just about every day. Paint me like one of your French girls, king of the world, "My Heart Will Go On," and all.

"So he comes in, and he's like every ounce of his entire being is just so negative — right up until I said, 'Action.' Then he turned into Jack," the director explained. "Kate just lit up, and they played the scene. Dark clouds had opened up, and a ray of sun came down and lit up Jack. I'm like, 'All right. He's the guy.'"

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