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James Cameron explains Jack's death in Titanic


Story by Jack Foley

JAMES Cameron has finally given into fans and explained why he took the artistic decision to let Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack die at the end of his Oscar-winning film Titanic.

For years, fans have questioned why Jack had to perish in the icy water, especially given that his beloved Rose (played by Kate Winslet) could have helped him cling onto the piece of wood that ultimately kept her alive.

But in an interview with Vanity Fair, Cameron stated: “The answer is very simple – because it says on page 147 [of the script] that Jack dies. Very simple.”

Don’t panic! There’s more. Cameron was pushed a little further on why the death was written into the script and so elaborated a little bit – despite feeling that fans should let the subject go.

“Had he lived, the ending of the film would have been meaningless,” he continued. “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.”

“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.”

Cameron even went so far as to dismiss suggestions that the piece of wood would have been strong enough to hold both Jack and Rose, explaining that he had been in the water himself, with the piece of wood putting people on it for about two days, in order to get 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, what do we take from all of this? Jack’s destiny was sealed from the moment the cameras began rolling. He never stood a chance of making it off that boat.