Almost every adult in the U.S. — and many around the globe — has seen James Cameron’s iconic film “Titanic.” Similarly, almost every adult who’s seen it will have the same issue: Jack could have fit on the wooden plank with Rose.
People haven’t been shy when expressing their frustration (spoiler alert) over the death of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Jack, at the end of the film. While floating in 28-degree water, Rose (Kate Winslet) stays alive by floating above it on a plank of wood while Jack holds her hands and stays in the water.
Within minutes, he froze to death, and Rose had to heartbreakingly let him go.
— Rachel Hatzipanagos (@rachelbianca) November 27, 2017
In fact, the scene is so contested that there was a “Mythbusters” episode in 2012 that centered around Jack’s death in which the show found the two could have survived if they’d been a little more creative.
But in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Cameron said that now, as the movie is approaching its 20th anniversary, people are still missing one big thing:
“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.”
He continued, saying that if Jack did survive — whether it was on a wooden plank or a rescue boat — the movie wouldn’t have had a message:
“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.”
Cameron even opened up about the process of perfecting that infamous piece of wood, telling Vanity Fair he spent two days on its buoyancy:
“… I was in the water with the piece of wood putting people on it for about two days getting it exactly buoyant enough so that it would support one person with full free-board, meaning that she wasn’t immersed at all in the 28 degree water so that she could survive … until the rescue ship got there. [Jack] didn’t know that she was gonna get picked up by a lifeboat an hour later; he was dead anyway.”
— Michael Fessey (@WSWDN) November 12, 2017
And even after all this time, Cameron said he still believes Jack wouldn’t have been able to make it on Rose’s float:
“And we very, very finely tuned it to be exactly what you see in the movie because I believed at the time, and still do, that that’s what it would have taken for one person to survive.”
Despite 20 years’ worth of arguments against Cameron and the way his film killed off one of the industry’s most beloved characters, the “Titanic” director is sticking to his guns — or, in this case, his wooden plank.