‘Titanic’ Stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet Had Opposite Approaches to the Film’s Intense Scenes

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet were already acclaimed actors with Oscar nominations before Titanic. Titanic made them superstars. They played young lovers on the doomed ship in 1912, and both came to the project with very different ways of working. 

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Titanic.]

Titanic: Leonardo DiCaprio sends Kate Winslet into a life boat
Leonardo DiCaprio | CBS via Getty Images

Winslet and Titanic executive producer Rae Sanchini reflected on Winslet and DiCaprio’s working styles in interviews on the Blu-ray release. April 14 marks the anniversary of the real Titanic sinking. The 1997 film is available on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD, as well as part of Paramount’s 10 Best Pictures Blu-ray collection.

Kate Winslet took ‘Titanic’ more seriously than Leonardo DiCaprio

The real sinking of the Titanic was a somber event in which 1517 people died. Winslet played the fictional Rose Bukater but Winslet remained in the film’s emotional mood.

“After a scene, it would really take her some time to get out of that,” Sanchini said. “Especially the more emotional the scene, the more it would impact her.”

Kate Winslet and Billy Zane on the sinking Titanic
Kate Winslet and Billy Zane | CBS via Getty Images

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Winslet explained how Titanic immersed her in the moment of impending death. Winslet would have already done films like Heavenly Creatures, Sense and Sensibility, Jude and Hamlet before Titanic.

“The costumes and being on set and that moment when they say action, there is a magic that happens,” Winslet said. “There really is. You can rehearse, you can prepare, you can live it, you can breathe it, you can be as ready as you think you need to be but until you put your costume on and until that first day, when someone says ‘and action,’ something happens. It’s just the most extraordinary thing. Still now I really feel that.”

For Leonardo DiCaprio, ‘Titanic’ was just pretend

According to Sanchini, DiCaprio was more apt to snap out of a scene and be right back in 1996/97 with the crew. He had already done heavy films like The Basketball Diaries, This Boy’s Life, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Romeo + Juliet by then. 

Leonardo DiCaprio freezing to death in Titanic
Leonardo DiCaprio | CBS via Getty Images

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“Leo, on the other hand, could really slip in and out of character very easily,” Sanchini said. “Even something as powerful as the death scene, it’s cut, it’s over, I’m alive. All is well. So they just dealt with their craft very differently. Both gave fantastic performances and they were the best of friends.”

Kate Winslet appreciated Leonardo DiCaprio’s methods

DiCaprio and Winslet remained friends after Titanic. They made Revolutionary Road together in 2008 and apparently still quote Titanic together. Their different methods clearly didn’t get in the way.

“The mutual respect we had for each other before we started working together really did lend itself to the beginning of a great friendship because it was built on very strong foundations,” Winslet said. “It was nothing to do with fancying the other one or any type of flirting. That just never happened, and I think that’s part of the reason why the friendship has always been so sincere.”