Shortly after the April 2012 release of "Titanic 3D," a small Internet movement arose questioning why Kate Winslet's Rose did not allow Leonardo DiCaprio's Jack to share the plank she used as a life raft -- fating him to a sure death in the frigid arctic waters where ship met iceberg.
A widely-circulated photograph even illustrated just how much spare room was on the plank -- enough for two people to engage in a game of Go Fish, for example.
Director James Cameron is aware of the debate, as he reveals in a recent interview with IGN. He's ready to clear Rose's good name, and will team up with the mighty debunkers of Discovery's "MythBusters" to do it.
“It’s interesting,” Cameron says, “cause I think 'MythBusters' is gonna tackle this problem, and I’m gonna help them do it, actually. We’re gonna put it to rest.”
Cameron then explains something that many of the pro-Rosers have been arguing all along: that the size of the plank had nothing to do with it.
"Actually, it's not a question of room, it's a question of buoyancy," Cameron explains. "When Jack puts Rose on the raft, then he tries to get on the raft. He's not an idiot, he doesn't want to die. And the raft sinks and kind of flips. So it's clear that there's only enough buoyancy available for one person. So he makes a decision to let her be that person instead of taking them both down."
"If you know anything about hypothermia, the more you're submerged -- and she's completely out of the water on the raft, and it's only about that far above the surface. If they he had gotten on with her they both would have been half in and half out of the water, even if they could balance on it, and they would have both died," Cameron says. (The exchange begins at 4:20 in the first video. The second video features the Titanic scene in question.)
It's hard to imagine that "Titanic" had the potential to be a flop. But take a look at this footage from star Kate Winslet's screen test for the movie, and you'll likely agree the earliest iterations of the film were not pretty.
For starters, Jeremy Sisto (who now appears on ABC's "Suburgatory") -- and not Leonardo DiCaprio -- plays Jack. Whatever the opposite of "having chemistry" is, that's what Sisto and Winslet have in this footage.
And the dialogue ... oh my. To say that director James Cameron did some tweaking would be an understatement.
To be fair, does anyone really want their first drafts out there for all the public to see? But kudos to Winslet: She was only 19 years old when she shot "Titanic," and even in an otherwise awful screen test and without the chemistry of DiCaprio to play off of, Winslet really shines.
The movie "Titanic," starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo Dicaprio, launched an ocean of tears that swept the movie right into blockbuster status.
By Meghan Holohan
Ever wonder why people like sad movies, no matter how gut-wrenching they are or how weepy they make you feel?
As a student in South Korea, Dohyun Ahn used to take breaks from studying by watching sad movies such as “Elvira Madigan,” a tragic and true love story of a tightrope walker and a lieutenant. Even though the movie made Ahn feel sad, he’d watch it over and over again. “The film was so sad and at the same time, so enjoyable,” says Ahn, who decided to study “the paradox of enjoyment of a sad film.”
To figure out what makes sob stories so enticing to viewers, Ahn—a senior researcher in the department of interaction science at Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea— asked 165 American college students to watch the movie, “Angel Baby,” a love story about two schizophrenic people, Harry and Kate. As the affair continues, Kate becomes pregnant, but dies during labor, leaving Harry alone with their child.
Following the viewing, the researchers asked the participants, the majority of whom were female, how the movie made them feel, and, specifically, whether it was Harry’s or Kate’s story that made them cry.
What Ahn found was that sadness predicted how the students perceived reality and that watching a sad movie changes how people look at the world. People seek out sad movies to help them understand the world.
“On its surface, it is counterintuitive. Common [sense dictates that] people feel sad because a tragic story seems to be real. However, people perceive reality because they feel sad,” explains Ahn, whose study was published recently in the Journal of Media Psychology: Theories, Methods and Applications.
Emotions, such as sadness, help people gather information and process it. Using a sad movie as a vehicle to understand the world seemed interesting to Ahn because most tragedies focus on tenderness and love, rather than vengeance or malice. When people watch sad movies, they observe subtle details and see the movie as more realistic, changing how they perceive the world, Ahn says
“Roughly, enjoyment can be classified into two types. One is self-focused, and the other is other-focused. Enjoyment of sad movies are other-focused enjoyment, driven by altruistic motivation,” Ahn says. After seeing a sad movie, people think of others with more empathy and understanding.
While most of the participants were female, Ahn doesn’t think the results would vary for males. He believes that enjoying sad movies is a sign of higher-level thinking.
“Although males and females have different empathic tendency, the variation cannot surpass the level of being human… most humans have experiences in basic emotions such as sadness and empathy.”
For those with fuzzy memories: At the end of "Titanic," the ship goes down (spoiler!), Rose and Jack end up in the water, and she takes refuge on a pine plank from the ship's Grand Staircase. Jack dangles from the side and they both pass out. When Rose wakes, Jack has frozen to death, half-in and half-out of the water. She is rescued and goes on to live a long, long time.
But couldn't they both have fit on that big plank?
Fans say yes, and offer up photos of a taped-off section of floor representing the raft, which makes it clear that two grown adults could have fit in the physical space of the plank.
But as Reddit poster Khromatic noted (along with mathematical/physics calculations), they'd both have sunk. He/she wrote: "As force of gravity is larger than that of buoyancy, Leo and Kate will be swimming with the fishes."
The fate of Rose and Jack has has been well-discussed on the web. Even if there wasn't room on the plank, did an earlier decision by Rose doom Jack?
Askville over on Amazon.com dealt with this one a few years ago, when submitter Layyla said her son had a theory about the film: "If Rose had stayed on the lifeboat she would have been safe and Jack would then have been able to worry only about himself. Jack is a survivor and he would have made it."
Would he? Nobody knows, but those who read the post decided this explanation from 67alecto was best: "I still see him going down with the ship as opposed to getting on a lifeboat -- he still would have let (women) and children go first. But, having gone down and not needing to worry about Rose, I think he’d have had a greater chance of surviving. He (put) her above himself, both literally and figuratively, as she floated out of the freezing water.... I’d give him 75% odds of surviving had he been just looking out for himself."
But it would have made for a very different movie.
We've all heard the complaints and concerns about 3-D. The annoying glasses, the headaches. But this one takes the cake.
As they flock to see "Titanic 3D," moviegoers in China are quickly realizing that they're not exactly getting the whole picture. It seems film censors in the country determined that the scene in which Kate Winslet's breasts are exposed while she poses for Leonardo DiCaprio as he sketches her has been edited so that Winslet is only shown from the neck up.
It turns out Winslet's bare chest itself isn't so much the problem, but rather, the fact that it is being presented in 3-D.
"Considering the vivid 3D effects, we fear that viewers may reach out their hands for a touch and thus interrupt other people's viewing," read a statement from China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. "We've decided to cut off the nudity scenes."
"Three Stooges" will get more publicity this week, but the movie we can whole-heartedly recommend is "Cabin in the Woods." And HBO just keeps making us want to splurge on the premium channel -- first, it was "Game of Thrones" and now it's "Girls." Here's our look at what's ahead this week in entertainment.
Movies Filmed back in 2009 and shelved for years due to M.G.M.'s bankruptcy woes, "Cabin in the Woods" is not really a horror movie. It's more of a riff on horror movies, and may make you look at all future scary flicks with new eyes. We don't want to give anything away, but as you can tell from the trailer and the poster, there's more going on here than meets the eye. Standouts in the cast include Chris Hemsworth (pre-"Thor") and Bradley Whitford, with a brief but memorable appearance by Sigourney Weaver. (Opens April 13.)
In "Lockout," the president's daughter visits an orbiting space prison full of the galaxy's worst criminals. And then she does a Bad Idea Jeans commercial, because in what universe is this a smart thing to do? When the inmates take over the prison, it's up to Guy Pearce, as a government agent convicted of a crime he didn't commit, to head up there and save her. If it sounds like Pearce is playing a modern-day Snake Plissken from "Escape from New York" and "Escape from L.A.," yeah, it sounds that way to us, too. Let's hope "Lockout" is more of the former than the latter. (Opens April 13.)
TV It was a century ago that the unsinkable Titanic sank into the icy waters of the North Atlantic. James Cameron's 1997 film, "Titanic," has just been re-released in 3-D, and television is also remembering the great ship. "Titanic at 100: Mystery Solved" tells the story of an exhaustive expedition to the wreck which explored and mapped the entire site in hopes of determining what exactly was responsible for the wreck. (Hint: iceberg.) (April 15, 8 p.m., History.)
Judd Apatow has earned a reputation for smart comedy, from "Freaks and Geeks" to "Bridesmaids." He's now a producer on the new HBO series "Girls," which The Hollywood Reporter has already called a "brilliant gem." Like "Sex and the City," it looks at four young women trying to make it in New York, but critic Tim Goodman says, " 'Girls' is a much more lo-fi, rooted-in-realism affair, and it mines the honesty of its characters in such a way that it produces both robust comedy and genuine, emotionally dramatic moments." Man, between this and "Game of Thrones," we're just going to have to pony up for HBO one of these days, aren't we? (Series premiere, April 15, 10:30 p.m., HBO.)
DVD Meryl Streep won the best actress Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA award for playing former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady." The acclaimed actress takes Thatcher from her political prime up to the present day, as a widow and perhaps Alzheimer's sufferer. While the film has to skip over much of the events of Thatcher's career, it presents a touching (if fictionalized) portrait of her in her 80s, a once-powerful woman who has been forced to let others help her with even the simplest things. (Out on DVD April 10.)
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in 1997's "Titanic."
By Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, NBC News
It may be a little embarrassing for their mother, but "Titanic" star Kate Winslet says it's probably time for her kids to see her in the 1997 hit "Titanic," which is being re-released in theaters this week.
"God knows what they'll think," Winslet told NBC News' Mike Wilber, wondering aloud if Mia, 11, and Joe, 8 would find it "embarrassing."
Winslet says she herself has only seen the film twice since making it, and it when it was on, her main thoughts were "Somebody switch it off!" and "Oh my God, that American accent!"
She also told Wilber that she was glad she and co-star Leonardo DiCaprio got along so well. "We were honestly so lucky that we didn't hate each other," Winslet said.
The film marked the end of Winslet's life as a little-known actress and the beginning of fame she couldn't have imagined. "I was suddenly so famous and so exposed," she said. "It was a short-lived, white-knuckle ride."
Film director James Cameron talks with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet during the shooting of a crucial post-sinking scene in "Titanic." The newly released 3-D version of the film will show the sky as it actually appeared that night, thanks to astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson's goading.
Thanks to Tyson's persistence, moviegoers who go to "Titanic" in 3-D will see a truer representation of the night sky when Rose (played by Kate Winslet) looks up into the heavens after the ship sinks. "That sky, I would say, was the most important sky in the movie," Tyson said. And in the original 1997 version of the film, it was wrong.
In a widely quoted interview with the British magazine Culture, Cameron said the sky scene was the only shot he fixed for this year's 3-D re-release:
"It's because Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is one of the U.S.' leading astronomers, sent me quite a snarky email saying that, at that time of year, in that position in the Atlantic in 1912, when Rose is lying on the piece of driftwood and staring up at the stars, that is not the star field she would have seen, and with my reputation as a perfectionist, I should have known that and I should have put the right star field in.
"So I said, 'All right, you son of a b**ch, send me the right stars for the exact time, 4:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912, and I'll put it in the movie.' So that's the one shot that has been changed."
Rose (Kate Winslet) looks up at the stars in this scene from "Titanic."
The basic problem was that a space-savvy observer would see that the sky in the original version of the movie was unrecognizable, and in fact was produced by mirroring made-up stars on the left and right halves of the screen. Tyson saw that as a needlessly sloppy move, and he made that opinion known to Cameron and his team in a succession of letters, emails and personal encounters. He wrote about the "Titanic" trip-up and other Hollywood missteps in his 2007 book, "Death by Black Hole." You can watch him tell the tale about "Titanic" and other sci-fi movies in this video clip:
Neil deGrasse Tyson on inaccuracies in science-fiction movies and the "Titanic" night sky.
When Cameron's people finally asked Tyson to provide a better sky, the astrophysicist used a standard planetarium program to generate the star field for the proper latitude and time of night, captured a high-resolution image and sent it off to the filmmakers.
"The Big Dipper came out nicely," Tyson said.
The sky was initially fixed in the bonus materials for a special DVD version of "Titanic" a few years ago. "I took that as a triumph and let it be," Tyson told me. Now the corrected sky appears in the big-screen version of the film itself, thanks to post-production wizardry.
Tyson said he can understand why it took a big re-release for Cameron to change the sky. "As a director, you don't want to have to rethink all that, and I respect that," he said. Tyson said his respect for Cameron has grown even more now that the right stars will be on display in theaters around the world.
Will Cameron put the space-savvy S.O.B.'s name in the credits for the 3-D movie? Tyson says he doesn't know, and really doesn't care.
"If he does, that's fine," Tyson told me. "I'm a servant of the public interest and the public's appetite for information about the universe. I get these calls all the time. ... The mere fact that an artist cares about getting the science right, and thereby transmitting that science literacy to the consumers of that art — that's enough reward for me."
Director James Cameron attends a press conference to promote his 3-D version of "Titanic" in Tokyo Friday, March 30, 2012.
He snagged the world record for the deepest solo dive last week in the South Pacific, but James Cameron just can't resist going back to Titanic.
In London for the premiere of his 3-D rerelease of his Best Picture-winning epic about the doomed ocean liner, which is hitting theaters next month in honor of its 15th anniversary, the famed director talked to E! News about the making of "Titanic," the phenomenon it became and casting stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
1. Keep Reshuffling Those Deck Chairs: Cameron, 57, admitted he may have bit off more than he could chew with the 1997 melodrama, particularly given the cost overruns that earned Titanic a flood of negative publicity, so much so that it was being heralded as a bomb before it even opened.
"You know it just seemed like we were doomed," the helmer tells E! News, reflecting back at the long shoot and tortuous postproduction process. "The press were just having their way with us...that we were the biggest idiots in history of Hollywood at least since "Cleopatra"...and so it was difficult. You just had to focus on the work and [hope] that all those rounds just go over the top of the bunker."
2. Capturing Lightning in a Bottle: On "Titanic" becoming a box-office phenomenon -- its $1.8 billion in global ticket sales were the highest-grossing film in history until surpassed by his own film, "Avatar" -- Cameron cited as the reason the fact the flick was able to tap into a set of universal emotions, "speaking to people at a deep kind of universal level that just bypassed language and idiom and culture.
" 'Titanic'...says, 'What would you do if you had an hour or two to live? Would you sacrifice yourself? Would you be that hero? Would you be that guy like Jack or some of those men that put the woman and children onto the lifeboats?'" mused the filmmaker.
3. On Winslet's Audition: Cameron was effusive in his praise for his lead actress. "We cast Kate first and she just blew me away at her screen test," he remembered.
4. Enter the Heartthrob: The King of the World Deep instantly knew the chemistry was right when DiCaprio read for him. "I noticed there was something strange when Leo came in for his first meeting and all of a sudden all the women who worked for me in my entire production company were all in the meeting," Cameron said. "I thought well that's a little strange...and then Leonardo walked in and I went, 'Oh I get it I see what's going on.' Even at that age he was just such a remarkable actor and so accomplished."
5. On Leo's Sudden Fame: Lastly, the artist turned pioneering deep sea explorer revealed that DiCaprio ran away from his iconic role post-"Titanic" because he feared being typecast. "I think it was tough on Leo because he had planned a career as an actor," Cameron said. "I mean, he admired De Niro and that ability to just immerse himself in any character and he knew now...with that iconic status of his character Jack in 'Titanic' that he was going to have to fight against that for a while. So I think he kind of distanced himself from the movie...Now he's fine because he's proven himself."
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet have gone on and on in "Titanic."
By Us Weekly
Don't tell Celine Dion, but Kate Winslet doesn't exactly get verklempt over "My Heart Will Go On."
The Oscar-winning actress, 36, says the classic "Titanic" theme song beloved by some and loathed by others seems to follow and "haunt" her wherever she goes, nearly 15 years after the blockbuster film and soundtrack were released.
"I wish I could say, 'Oh listen, everybody! It's the Celine Dion song!' But I don't," Winslet, now promoting the new 3-D version of Titanic, confessed to MTV News. "I just have to sit there, you know, kind of straight-faced with a massive internal eye roll."
It's a bit odd for the folks promoting "Titanic 3D" to trumpet their new poster and trailer because -- well, the movie came out in 1997, and the poster and trailer aren't themselves in 3-D.
But they're a fun reminder that yes, in April, the month that marks the 100th anniversary of the great ship's sinking, James Cameron's Oscar-winning epic will return to theaters.
Even 3-D skeptics may want to give this one a go. Cameron used 3-D better than anyone in recent history with 2009's "Avatar," and no filmmaker has a better touch with underwater imagery.
And after seeing Leonardo DiCaprio in "J. Edgar," it's nice to see him without all the old-man makeup. He was just 23, as was co-star Kate Winslet, when he made the film, and was as baby-faced as they come.
Of course, not everyone's a fan. David Edelstein's Slate review was headlined "The Love Boat." He writes: "This $200-million-plus 'epic' ... is nothing so much as an Edwardian soap opera to which one of the world's most glamorous catastrophes has been appended."
Is a 3-D version of "Titanic" a good or bad idea? Will you see it? Tell us in the comments.