Can I tell you how excited I am??? I am the biggest Titanic fan…even though it tends to get a little cheesy at times. I’ve been fascinated and obsessed with the shipwreck for as long as I can remember. In college I wrote a research paper on the wreck and the history behind the ship. So, imagine my excitement that the story was being made into a film in 1997. I remember being in the theater, 21 years old, completely mesmerized by the flashbacks and how accurate James Cameron made everything look. All the photos and people I had studied were coming alive on film. It has remained one of my favorite films since.
So, I can’t wait to see the film again in 3D when it comes to theaters on April 4. Will you go? Here’s some trivia about the film to get you as excited as I am:
—When James Cameron decided to include real footage of the Titanic’s remains on the seabed, he did not want to simply shoot from inside a submersible as had been done for the IMAX documentary Titanica. To allow filming from outside the sub, Cameron’s brother Mike Cameron and Panavision developed a deep-sea camera system capable of withstanding the 400 atmospheres of pressure at that depth.
—12 dives were necessary. On the last two dives, shots were taken by sending a remotely operated vehicle into the wreck; James Cameron had intended using this device only as a prop.
—James Cameron went on the dives to the real Titanic himself, and found it an overwhelming emotional experience to actually see it. He ended up spending more time with the ship than its living passengers did.
—Most of the decor on the ship was either reconstructed by or under the supervision of researchers of the White Star Line, the original company which constructed and furnished the Titanic.
—The scenes during which Thomas Andrews chastises Second Office Charles Lightoller for sending the boats away without filling them to capacity is the only scene in the entire film in which the actors’ breath was not digitally added in later.
—The staircase is not actually technically accurate being slightly larger in the film than it was in real life. This is because people in 1997 were actually a bit taller than in 1912 so they would have looked out of place on a staircase that fit the correct dimensions.
—The “full-size” ship exterior set was constructed in a tank on a beach south of Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico. Construction started on the 85th anniversary of the real Titanic’s launch – May 31, 1996 (see also A Night to Remember). To reduce costs, the number of instances of some repeated components (such as windows) was reduced, and other parts (such as the funnels and lifeboats) were built at 90% scale to produce the correct visual appearance. The set was oriented to face into the prevailing wind so that the smoke from the funnels would blow the right way.
—Gloria Stuart, being only 86, was aged by makeup to play Rose at age 101. She did not find this a pleasant experience.
—The most expensive first-class suite on the Titanic cost $4,350, the equivalent of about $75,000 today.
—Gloria Stuart was the only person who worked in the production of the film who was actually living in 1912.
—Reba McEntire was offered and had accepted the role of Molly Brown, but due to later schedule conflicts, had to turn it down.
—Kate Winslet was one of the few actors who didn’t want to wear a wetsuit during the water scenes; as a result, she got pneumonia, and nearly quit the production as a result. However, Cameron persuaded her to stay.
—The hands seen sketching Rose are not Leonardo DiCaprio‘s, but director James Cameron‘s. In post-production, Cameron, who is left-handed, mirror-imaged the sketching shots so the artist would be appear to be right-handed, like DiCaprio.
And photos of the original tragedy:
All photos courtesy of Google images
Trivia courtesy of IMDB