Why Kate Winslet and James Cameron’s Avatar Reunion Is A Strange One

The Titanic star must be getting a shed load of money for this one.

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

When Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio met up at a recent charity event, Titanic fans were quick to swoon over pictures of Jack and Rose reunited.

Never mind that the pair had previously starred alongside each other in Sam Mendes’ superb drama, Revolutionary Road, THIS was the Titanic reunion that fans had been crying out for. More importantly, in the eyes of many, it was probably the only one they were going to get.

With James Cameron tangled in a web of Terminator reboots and endless Avatar sequels, a reunion with either one of DiCaprio or Winslet looked highly unlikely. Sure, Billy Zane might be waiting by the phone but both Winslet and DiCaprio are in constant demand – Winslet’s got a new movie out now where she survives a plane crash with Idris Elba and has sex on a mountain, while DiCaprio is either working on something gritty and intensely method or is busy sunning himself on a yacht.

But then the unthinkable happened – Winslet signed on to star in Avatar 2. Little is known about her character, or if she’ll get the Blue Man Group treatment afforded to Sigourney Weaver and Sam Worthington, other than the fact she’ll play “Ronal.”

No one is even sure how many of the multitude of sequels she will appear in or if she’ll be a villain or one of the good guys. But what makes the whole idea that bit more unimaginable is that, up until recently, everyone was under the impression Cameron and Winslet despised each other.

Not according to Cameron, who told Deadline: “Kate and I have been looking for something to do together for 20 years since our collaboration on Titanic, which was one of the most rewarding of my career.” That goes against much of what Winslet has been saying for the past two decades though.

In 1997, she told the LA Times she suffered a torrid time on the set of the Titanic, nearly drowning and contracting influenza after being left in cold water conditions for hours on end during filming. Filming where, according to Winslet, Cameron was a nightmare.

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

“He’s a nice guy, but the problem was that his vision for the film was as clear as it was,” she said. “He has a temper like you wouldn’t believe. As it was, the actors got off lightly. I think Jim knew he couldn’t shout at us the way he did to his crew because our performances would be no good.

“He’s a really tough nut to crack – there were times I was genuinely frightened of him.”
Winslet has rarely had a good word to say about Titanic either, claiming Celine Dion’s signature soundtrack for the film made her “feel like throwing up” while her reaction to watching the film again went along the lines of “Oh my God, make it stop!”

Cameron, never one to back down from a fight, has fired back over the years too, dubbing Winslet “Kate Weighs-a-lot” during his time on Titanic and offering short shrift when it came to her complaints about the film and his methods during a chat with Moviefone. “I understand her needing to distance herself from it. But, on the other hand, you know, it’s been 16 years, like, come on, Kate. Get over it. Take the win, girl!” he said.

So what has changed since then? Sure bridges have been built since the re-release of Titanic in 3D, with Winslet and Cameron offering a new-found appreciation for each other’s works, but the reality may be something a little more cynical. In 1998, while promoting Titanic, Winslet famously declared to the LA Times “I would only work for Jim Cameron again for a lot of money” in a quote she claims was misquoted.

Kate and James reunited for Titanic 3D.
Kate and James reunited. For Titanic 3D.

That might be true, but it’s also true that Winslet is crying out for a franchise hit – something that has evaded her thus far. She took a central role in the Divergent movie series for exactly that, only for things to fizzle out badly.

Cameron, also, needs a big name to anchor his sequel, amid continued delays and confusing rumours about villains and other characters seemingly returning from the dead. They may have patched up some of their professional differences but make no mistake: this is a marriage of convenience and one that could yet end in another messy divorce.

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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.