Ah, Titanic. It might be turning 24 this year (yes, it really has been that long), but it’s fair to say the obsession will never die. It is undeniably iconic, from Kate Winslet’s dresses to Leonardo DiCaprio‘s curtains, and we still quote it in every day life (even though he really didn’t want to say this infamous line).
And while you probably can’t imagine anyone other than Leo playing the role of penniless artist Jack Dawson (same), it very nearly happened.
According to Hollywood royalty and Oscar winning actor, Matthew McConaughey, he very nearly landed the part – but was pipped to the post by Leo.
Appearing on the Literally podcast with Rob Lowe, he spoke about the rumours that he had auditioned to play Kate’s love interest.
He said: ‘So I went and read for Titanic with Kate Winslet and it was not one of those auditions, they filmed it. So it was into screen test time.
‘And, I only got nods from [director] Jim Cameron, but from the producers and Kate and everything after we left, it was one of those ones where they followed me and when we went outside they said, “that went great,” and [there were] hugs.
‘I remember I really thought it was going to happen… it did not.’
The Dallas Buyers Club actor went on to say he spoke to Cameron later down the line following rumours that he had turned down the part. He went on to talk to his then-agent to make sure that the role hadn’t been turned down without his knowledge, but denied that was the case.
He continued: ‘Negative. Not factual. I did not get offered that role. Jim confirmed that… I did go have a good screen test, I thought I had the role but did not get the role. So yeah, I was in contention.’
However, Leo and Matthew did end up starring in another iconic movie together years later – The Wolf of Wall Street. He revealed that the pair bonded while shooting the film, saying: ‘Not everybody wants you to win, I’ve worked with guys who don’t want you to win… but fortunately I’ve worked with a lot more people – and Leonardo was one of them – who went, “Oh no, this is great, this is cool, I’m going to sit over here and be the guy that’s listening,” and was feeding me ideas.’