'I'll take Kate to see Titanic prow for real': Virgin boss Richard Branson and actress to dive 12,500ft to shipwreck
It is one of the most iconic images in film history. When Kate Winslet stood on the prow of the Titanic in the blockbuster 1997 film, it turned her into an overnight superstar.
Now the actress is set to see the doomed ship for real – courtesy of billionaire Sir Richard Branson.
Branson last week discussed his plan to join other tourists paying £38,000 each for a submarine dive to the wreck of the Titanic in the North Atlantic.
The Virgin boss said: ‘It is something I am very keen to do. I’m deadly serious about this and I would love to invite Kate to come with me.
‘Wouldn’t it be something if the star of Titanic really got to go down to the real ship? I’m going to talk to her but I’m sure it’s an opportunity she will jump at.’
Miss Winslet, who is dating Branson’s nephew Ned Rocknroll, starred as Rose opposite Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack as ill-fated lovers in Titanic, which won 11 Oscars and is the second highest-grossing film of all time behind Avatar, earning more than £1 billion at the box office.
Titanic director James Cameron plans to return to the wreck in April on the first of five planned tourist trips to mark the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking.
A source said: ‘Richard and Kate would likely go on that first trip with James. Richard is talking to Kate about it. He also wants his kids to go on the expedition.
‘Richard loves a great adventure and what bigger adventure is there than diving two-and-a-half miles down to see the resting place of the most famous ship in history?’
The Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, with the loss of 1,517 lives during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York. She lies in 12,500ft of water 380 miles south-east of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic.
Rob McCallum, of Deep Ocean Expeditions, the company organising the tourist dives to the wreck, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘We have already sold 70 per cent of our 2012 Centenary dives and we have not even formally announced the expedition. It is an unprecedented level of interest.
‘This is our first expedition to the Titanic since 2005 and it will be our last visit to the site. We can’t think of a better way to say farewell to the “Ship of Dreams”.’
The dives are undertaken using Russian submersibles Mir1 and Mir2 (seen at the start of the Titanic movie), two of only five subs in the world capable of reaching such depths.
Mr McCallum added: ‘Diving two-and-a-half miles down is not something you ever take for granted. The submersible team are consummate professionals and although it looks smooth, it is not without its challenges. This is the technical equivalent of a space walk.
‘The folks coming next year are very keen. Many of them had relatives on board the ship or some other family connection. We have been overwhelmed with the level of interest from all over the world.
‘We treat the wreck site with the utmost respect. The wreck is never touched. We always have a moment of silence, say a prayer and toast those lost in the disaster.’
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