In another timeline, Titanic could have looked very different: Specifically, Claire Danes could have played Rose, instead of Kate Winslet, and it would be Danes that a good portion of the internet is still mad at regarding a certain Jack/Leonardo DiCaprio sinking into the icy waters scene. The movie made immediate megastars of Winslet and DiCaprio—but Danes, it turns out, doesn't have any regrets about declining the role.
During an appearance on Dax Shepard's podcast Armchair Expert, Danes explained that Titanic was cast shortly after she filmed the 1996 movie Romeo + Juliet, also alongside DiCaprio. "I had just made this romantic epic with Leo in Mexico City, which is where they were going to shoot Titanic," Danes said, as People reports. "And I just didn’t have it in me."
DiCaprio, meanwhile, was uncertain at first, ultimately making the decision while circling his manager's office in a red convertible (what a visual!) "[He] looked up at me and said, 'I’m doing it! I’m doing it!'" Danes said. "I could see he wasn’t sure," she continued. "But he was like, 'Fuck it, I gotta do this.' And I looked down at him going like, 'I totally understand why you’re doing that. And I’m not ready for that.' And I think I really wasn’t ready for it."
"I remember after that movie came out and he just went into another stratosphere," Danes said. "I think I may have sensed that I was courting that [level of fame] or I was proximate to that," she added. "I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want it." And today, she has "zero regret" about her decision, explaining, "It was going to propel me to something I knew I didn’t have the resources to cope with."
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