The Fox Baja Studio built especially for filming ‘Titanic’ was still incomplete at the production start date, and director James Cameron was forced to begin with scenes that could be shot anywhere. Consequently, the scene in which Rose (Kate Winslet) poses nude – adorned only with the infamous ‘Titanic’ Heart of the Ocean necklace – and Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) draws her portrait was the first scene the two actors shot together for the film.
Winslet, apprised in advance of this shooting schedule and considering the potentially awkward circumstance, reportedly “flashed” DiCaprio at their first meeting in an attempt to “break the ice” (no pun intended). When asked about the scene at the recent London premiere for ‘Titanic’ 3D, the always-straight-shooting Winslet quipped, “I’m not going to look, I’ll be in the bar by that point… or on the floor.”
That’s not the only interesting thing to note about this scene, though. More fascinating is that the hands seen sketching Rose actually belong to director James Cameron. Also, because Cameron is left-handed, the sketching shots were reverse-imaged in the post-production process so it would appear the right-handed DiCaprio was the scene’s artist.
You’ll want to watch this scene closely if you go to see ‘Titanic’ 3D this weekend!
Of note as well: As Jack prepares to make the drawing, he tells Rose, "Lie on that bed, uh, I mean couch." Although the line was scripted, "Lie on that couch," Cameron felt the honest mistake added credibility to the scene and kept it in. In an interview, Cameron described the scene:
"This was the beauty of it: The nude scene where he draws her – that was the first scene they did together. It wasn't by any kind of design, although I couldn't have designed it better. There's a nervousness and an energy and a hesitance in them. They had rehearsed together, but they hadn't shot anything together."
A final item of interest about the 'Titanic' “nude portrait scene”: when the 3D ‘Titanic’ film opened in India yesterday, it was the first time the scene screened in that country’s theaters. For the film's first run in India, the scene had been censored.
As the 100-year anniversary of the sinking of the RSS Titanic nears, revisiting Cameron’s description of the ‘Titanic’ story seems appropriate:
"The story could not have been written better...The juxtaposition of rich and poor, the gender roles played out unto death (women first), the stoicism and nobility of a bygone age, the magnificence of the great ship matched in scale only by the folly of the men who drove her hell-bent through the darkness. And above all, the lesson: that life is uncertain, the future unknowable...the unthinkable possible."
May we all remember…