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"Titanic" fans: Stop telling director James Cameron that Jack could have lived.
Twenty years after the film's release, Cameron is still fielding questions about whether or not the movie's hero, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, could have survived with Kate Winslet's Rose on the makeshift raft that kept her alive and out of the frigid waters after the ship sank — a theory he's batted down before.
"I think it's all kind of silly, really, that we're having this discussion 20 years later," Cameron told Vanity Fair in a new interview. "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 end of the film would have been meaningless."
Fans have long lamented the part of the 1997 movie when Jack dies, suggesting that there was plenty of room for him on the slab of wooden debris that Rose was using as a raft until the rescue boats came. Yet Cameron said Jack's death was part of the point of the whole movie.
"The film is about death and separation; he had to die," Cameron told the magazine. "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."
Besides, he's not convinced that Jack really could have survived on the raft.
"I was in the water with the piece of wood putting two 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 the three hours it took until the rescue ship got there," Cameron said. "(Jack) didn't know that she was gonna get picked up by a lifeboat an hour later; he was dead anyway. 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."
There you have it, folks!
For anyone who's eager to see the film one more time on the big screen, "Titanic" is returning to movie theaters later this week for its 20th anniversary.