Can you imagine a Titanic without Kate Winslet as Rose? Utter madness, right? Well, actually, it very nearly happened that way.
Kate–who was a fairly unknown actress at the time – had to go to pretty extreme lengths to convince the film's director, James Cameron, to give her the role. But boy are we glad it all worked out in the end.
Back when Titanic was being cast in 1996, Winslet, who's now a multi-award-winning actress, was still a small-scale star who had only been on the Hollywood scene for a couple of years (her first film appearance was in 1994's Heavenly Creatures). She really had to work hard to get Cameron on board with the idea of her playing the posh but lovable Rose DeWitt Bukater.
In a 1998 interview with Rolling Stone, Winslet explained that after reading the Titanic screenplay, "I closed the script, wept floods of tears and said, 'Right, I've absolutely got to be a part of this. No two ways about it.'"
She got James Cameron's number from her agent, and then called the director on his car phone. (Old school…) "[James] was on the freeway, and he said, 'I'm going somewhere.' And I think he pulled over, and I said, 'I just have to do this, and you are really mad if you don't cast me.'"
In fairness, it worked and she got an audition. Three days after showing Cameron what she was all about she sent him a bunch of roses with a note that read: "From your Rose."
Bravo, Kate. Bravo.
Here she is doing a screen test for the film (with Elton from Clueless for some reason...)
Et voila! She was cast a few days later, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Kate recently explained to USA Today, "James took a risk in casting me. A lot of my contemporaries—Uma Thurman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Winona Ryder—were much more likely candidates. I got lucky."
Needless to say, we're thrilled it turned out as it did. We can't think of a better person to force Jack to freeze to death by not letting him share her floating door…