Kate Winslet says that she was nearly giddy when she found out that Leonardo DiCaprio would be her co-star in Titanic.
“When they finally gave me the role, I remember calling my friends and family and going, ‘You’re not going to believe who’s playing Jack, you’re not going to believe who’s playing the boy’s part — it’s Leonardo DiCaprio, don’t you remember him from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” Winslet recalled in an interview provided by the studio. “I just had so much respect for him that I just couldn’t wait to share in the experience with him, you know, because I knew it would be challenging, I knew it would be exciting.”
The 1997 film, which won 11 Oscars, is one of the highest grossing films of all time. The premiere of the 3D re-release marked the 100th anniversary of the ocean liner’s tragic maiden voyage on April 1912.
“Titanic was the most exciting audition I’d ever been on, so of course I wanted it. I wanted it so badly and you just dig deep and try hard and do the best you can,” Winslet said. “So when I finally got that phone call and was told that I’d been given the part, I just couldn’t believe it because there were so many other actresses who were more well-known than I was at the time, who would probably have been more suitable in terms of the profile of those women… but luckily, James Cameron was prepared to take that risk and gave the part to me.”
DiCaprio didn’t attend the worldwide premiere of Titanic 3D in London on Tuesday, March 27, as he was in Louisiana shooting Quentin Tarantino’s film Django Unchained, but Winslet and Cameron held down the red carpet.
When asked why she thought the film had been such a monumental success, Winslet said, “The reason the film worked at all is because it’s actually a very pure and simple love story. It’s a good, old-fashioned Hollywood love story. People will never tire of that, you know, and the sincerity of that.”