Titanic director James Cameron has finally admitted that Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Jack “might’ve lived” at the end of the movie when the titular ocean liner crashed and sank, Variety and Rolling Stone reported Thursday, giving credence to an obsessive 25-year-old fan theory.
To celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary, Cameron participated in a National Geographic special, “Titanic: 25 Years Later With James Cameron,” in which three scientific tests were performed by stunt actors to determine if Jack could have fit on a makeshift raft along with Rose, which saved her life.
In the one successful test, stunt actors who were roughly the same size as DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, who portrayed Rose, performed the “strenuous activities” that the characters went through in the film before they got off the sinking ship, before balancing on the raft with only the lower portions of their bodies submerged, according to previews of the episode from Variety and Rolling Stone.
Cameron then had the Rose stunt actor give her life jacket to Jack, something that does not happen in the movie.
If this had happened, Jack would have been “stabilized,” and “got into a place where if we projected that out, he just might’ve made it until the lifeboat got there,” Cameron said.
However, the character wouldn’t have allowed this to happen, Cameron said, saying Jack’s “thought process was, ‘I’m not going to do one thing that jeopardized her,’ and that’s 100 percent in character.”
The stunt actors also tested out a fan theory that both Jack and Rose could have fit on the raft (the stunt actor’s bodies mostly submerged in what would have been freezing cold water), as well as the theory that only the upper halves of their bodies were positioned on the raft above the water (Cameron said Jack could have lasted “hours” that way—until he considered how tired Jack and Rose would be after getting off the boat in the first place, and ultimately determined they would have suffered).
“Final verdict: Jack might have lived, but there’s a lot of variables,” Cameron reportedly said in the National Geographic special. “Based on what I know today, I would have made the raft smaller so there’s no doubt.”
$2.19 billion. That’s how much Titanic has made worldwide since its 1997 release, making it the third highest-grossing film in history. The top-grossing movie in history is Avatar, another Cameron-directed film, at $2.92 billion since its 2009 debut.
Rose’s life is spared at the end of Titanic when she survives by floating on a raft, as Jack dies in the water next to her. Fans have theorized for years that the raft was big enough to fit both of them. Winslet recently said she doesn’t believe Jack would have survived alongside her, saying “it would not have stayed afloat.” The theory was previously tested on Mythbusters, which showed he could have lived. The obsession that Jack could have fit has become so ubiquitous that Brad Pitt even commented on it when thanking DiCaprio at the 2020 Golden Globes. “I would have shared the raft,” he said. Cameron has previously said, “the script says ‘Jack dies.’ He has to die.”
What To Watch For
Titanic returns to theaters on Feb. 11. “Titanic: 25 Years Later With James Cameron” airs on February 5.
James Cameron Admits There’s One Way ‘Jack Might’ve Lived’ After Scientifically Testing ‘Titanic’ Door Raft: ‘There’s a Lot of Variables’ (Variety)
James Cameron Finally Admits ‘Jack Might Have Lived’ After Lab-Testing ‘Titanic’ Raft Theory (Rolling Stone)