James Cameron Explains Why Jack Didn’t Get On The Door In Titanic

Does this put the endless online debate to rest once and for all?

Kate Winslet, James Cameron and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Kate Winslet, James Cameron and Leonardo DiCaprio. The Titanic trio. Image Getty

It’s been over 20 years since Titanic arrived in cinemas but the film continues to be the source of constant debate despite the fact it’s supposed to be based on a true story, or some close approximation of one, at least.

The main bone of contention concerns a scene involving two entirely fictitious characters, Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) and a door.

Towards the end of the movie and with the Titanic sinking fast, Rose manages to get aboard a floating door. There’s apparently not enough room for Jack though, who is left to tread water and eventually freeze to death.

Except, a lot of fans seem to think that’s a load of rubbish and that Jack could have got on the door as well – a group of students down under even put together a maths project highlighting exactly how it would work.

James Cameron on the set of Titanic

The director of Titanic, James Cameron, is having none of it though and recently used an interview with Vanity Fair to try and put the whole thing to bed once and for all.

Asked why Rose didn’t make room for Jack on the door, Cameron responded: “And the answer is very simple because it says on page 147 [of the script] that Jack dies. Very simple…”

“I think it’s all kind of silly, really, that we’re having this discussion 20 years later,” he added.

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

Jack and Rose in Titanic.
Jack and Rose in Titanic. During filming with James Cameron. Image Getty

He did go on to dismiss the notion both characters could have fit on the door though.

“I was in the water with the piece of wood putting people on it for about two days getting 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,” he revealed.

“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,” he added.

Titanic
The Titanic A shot from James Cameron's 1997 film Image 20th Century Fox/Paramount

That settles it then. Or at least it does for Cameron.

One thing we can all agree on, at least, is that the Celine Dion theme song, My Heart Will Go On, is an absolute banger.

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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.