James Cameron says Jack 'had to die' in Titanic, so get over it

Ben Arnold
UK Movies Writer

The question that will probably dog director James Cameron to his death bed still has the power to baffle and mystify him.

Why, when there was probably room on that floating door, did Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack not jump and Kate Winslet’s Rose’s life preserver and live happily ever after at the end of Titanic.

Speaking to Vanity Fair – though it was around the 20th anniversary of the movie, so it was probably going to come up – he said: “And the answer is very simple because it says on page 147 [of the script] that Jack dies. Very simple.

“Obviously it was an artistic choice, the thing was just big enough to hold her, and not big enough to hold him.

“I think it’s all kind of silly, really, that we’re having this discussion 20 years later. 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. Had he lived, the ending of the film would have been meaningless.

“The film is about death and separation; he had to die. So whether it was that, or whether a smoke stack fell on him, he was going down. It’s called art, things happen for artistic reasons, not for physics reasons.”

An episode of US show Mythbusters even took on the conundrum as to whether Jack could have scooched on, determining that it could have worked, but only if Rose had used her buoyancy aid to assist the floating door.

Otherwise, they’d both have sunk, something that it didn’t say on page 147.

So can we put this to bed now? One might suspect not.

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