Filming Titanic Wasn't As Romantic As It Seemed For Kate Winslet

When Kate Winslet signed on to "Titanic," she expected smooth sailing ahead, but similar to the celebrated film, it was more tragic than romantic. Speaking to Rolling Stone in 1998, the Oscar-winner shared that it was love at first when she read the script: "I closed the script, wept floods of tears and said, 'Right, I've absolutely got to be a part of this. No two ways about it.'" Winslet stayed true to her word and jumped through hoops to get in touch with director James Cameron to let him know she wouldn't rest until she got the part. 

She also went the extra mile to get Leonardo DiCaprio on board and their close-knit relationship got off to a great start. While the then 22-year-old was excited about starring in the film of her dreams, she didn't quite comprehend just how much work the role would entail. In a 1997 Los Angeles Times interview, she recalled she arrived at the set at 5 a.m. on the first day of filming and stayed until 1 a.m. the following day.

However, the exhaustion from that day didn't hold a candle to the whopping 20-hour-a-day shoots they regularly had to endure. Winslet further explained that she had lost all concept of time while filming "Titanic" because a vast portion of the scenes had to be shot during nighttime to mimic the conditions of the real ship when it sunk. If all of that wasn't bad enough, the "Mare of Easttown" star also had to work unbelievably hard to meet Cameron's astronomical expectations.

Kate Winslet almost drowned while filming Titanic

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times in 1997, Kate Winslet admitted that James Cameron's erratic temper while filming "Titanic" created a high-pressure environment where she grew afraid of him. The "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind" star shared that Cameron walked into the set with a concrete idea of the movie he wanted to create and wasn't afraid to let his temper run wild to keep his actors in line. However, there were a few times when Winslet felt he went overboard. 

The lead actor went on to recall a particularly terrifying incident when she found herself at risk of drowning after her coat got caught on a set piece while they were filming underwater. "I had to sort of shimmy out of the coat to get free," she explained. "I had no breath left. I thought I'd burst. And Jim just said, 'OK, let's go again.' That was his attitude. I didn't want to be a wimp so I didn't complain." Meanwhile, Cameron claimed he didn't realize the actor felt like she had been through an ordeal.  

She later recalled the horrifying moment when she was submerged with a weight to keep her in place and her air regulator didn't do its job, so she ended up ingesting loads of water. Thankfully, this time around, she put her foot down and refused to do more than three takes. Decades later, on a 2017 appearance on "The Stephen Colbert Show," Winslet shared that she got hypothermia from filming in the icy water.

She had a different experience working with James Cameron in 2022

In 1999, Kate Winslet told The Guardian that she wouldn't consider working with James Cameron again unless it brought a significant boost to Winslet's stunning net worth, the Independent reported. Ultimately, the "Sense and Sensibility" star took a few decades away from the iconic director and only joined forces with him in 2022 for "Avatar: The Way of Water." When Cameron discussed her addition to the blockbuster in a Radio Times interview, he admitted, "I think Kate came out of Titanic a bit traumatized by the scale of the production and her responsibility within it." (via HuffPost). 

However, he quickly noted that working together was never off the table for either of them. Cameron also gushed that Winslet brought a commanding energy to the set that matched a producer with a lot riding on the movie. Even though Winslet felt like she died while filming the movie, she had a pleasant time working with Cameron. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Winslet shared that time and experience had changed her and her collaborator so they could communicate effectively and take in each other's creative input. 

Likewise, in her Times interview, she shared that she could empathize with Cameron's sentiments about getting the best performance out of his actors in "Titanic," as she shared, "There were all those conversations about this huge film, 'Titanic.' I can't imagine the pressure," adding, "As we get older we learn how to say, 'I made a mistake.' We all get better at that, don't we?"