Titanic was the big-break for Leonardo DiCaprio in the film world, despite claiming some fame on Growing Pains, The Basketball Diaries, and Romeo + Juliet. The James Cameron film put the actor on the map and catapulted him into stardom. He is now one of the most well-respected and admired actors in the game. It turns out, he wasn’t sure if he was going to take the role after it was first offered to him, but Leonardo might have decided to go for it after a little push from Paul Rudd.
The two men worked together on Romeo + Juliet, and despite not having many scenes together, they spent time off the set after the movie wrapped. Paul recently remembered on The Graham Norton Show that after they finished filming the 1996 Baz Luhrmann flick, he suggested that Leo should take the role when he appeared to be unsure, according to Entertainment Weekly.
“It was my last day of filming on Romeo + Juliet, and we all went out to a bar… I was riding to the place with Leo, and he said, ‘I just got offered this movie, and it’s a big movie.’ He had done indie films to that point. He said ‘It’s a studio movie, it’s Titanic.’ I said ‘That’s incredible!’ And I knew a lot about Titanic because my dad just talked about Titanic. And we just had a conversation about it. He was saying, ‘Well, I don’t know what I’ll do,’ and I remember saying, ‘You should do it!'”
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Paul had prefaced the story by saying his father made his living by being a Titanic expert. He explained that his father would travel all around the world to universities educating people about the ship and the famous disaster, so he felt a connection once Leo mentioned the role.
The Ant-Man actor also made sure to say that he doesn’t think he influenced Leo to take the role when Graham suggested that he did, but the story was interesting nonetheless. Paul laughed alongside the audience when it was suggested again that he was the driving force behind convincing Leo to become Jack Dawson.
Leo wasn’t the only actor who wasn’t sure about taking a role in Titanic, Reba McEntire recently admitted she regrets turning down a role in the big picture.
Leo and Paul have not acted together in a film since Romeo + Juliet, and at this time, the Titanic actor has not commented on the story Paul told just over a week ago.
Watch Paul tell the whole story on The Graham Norton Show below, and notice Robert DeNiro’s interest.