Why ‘the Young and the Restless’ Star Eric Braeden Almost Turned Down an Iconic Movie Role

The Young and the Restless star, Eric Braeden, has an extensive filmography that spans as far back as 1961. The star has dozens of credits to his name outside of playing Y&Rs Victor Newman for 40 years. However, there’s one movie role Braeden almost passed on that would’ve been a “sunken” opportunity.

Eric Braeden starred in ‘Titanic’

Eric Braeden
Eric Braeden | Ella Hovsepian/Getty Images

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Among The Young and the Restless star, Eric Braeden’s incredible multi-decade career came after becoming a soccer star overseas then immigrating to the U.S. to pursue acting.

According to IMDb, Braeden’s 40-year career on Y&R alone doesn’t even scratch the surface as to how many roles the actor has taken. One of the most iconic may just be a blip on Braeden’s radar, but it’s an important one.

In 1997, Braeden scored a part in the James Cameron historic saga, Titanic, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. The based-on-true-life story showcased Braeden’s ability to work in feature-length films — something he hadn’t done since 1979 in the made-for-TV movie, The Power Within.

The role is based on a real-life ‘wealthy’ man just like Victor Newman

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Learning Lines!

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The Titanic, which sank in 1912, killed over 1,500 people, including John Jacob Astor IV — whom Braeden portrayed in the film, Titanic.

Astor was regarded as one of the world’s wealthiest people, even considered American royalty in some regions. Astor earned his money through family inheritance, as well as via fur trading and real estate.

In 1893, William Waldorf Astor built the Waldorf Hotel in spite of [John Jacob Astor] according to Insider. To retaliate, [John Jacob Astor built the historic Astoria Hotel nearby.

Astor was a writer and inventor, who’d just married his second wife, 18-year-old, Madeleine Talmage Force when they booked a room on the Titanic. She was reportedly pregnant at the time with Astor being among the first few who knew the ship hit the iceberg and had begun sinking.

Astor placed his wife in a lifeboat and was last seen with his pocket watch, smoking a cigarette on the deck. He did not survive, but his wife did. Because Astor’s estimated net worth at that time is somewhere between $90 and $150 million, according to CNBC, Braeden is the perfect actor for the role, since he’s played the wealthy Victor Newman on Y&R all of these years.

Why did Braeden almost pass?

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Despite being the perfect person to play Astor in Titanic, Braeden almost passed up the opportunity.

“It just wasn’t that big enough of a role,” he previously revealed on The Talk. “I went down the drain in that damn thing. I read about John Jacob Astor before, so this is an interesting fellow.”

Braeden said after researching, he thought he’d have a bigger placement in the film and had heard [director James Cameron] was difficult to work with.

“The driver who picked me up at the airport said, ‘Are you ready to work with the biggest a** in the business…?’” he added. “The wardrobe person came and said a similar thing, so I said, ‘I’m going to get the hell out of here, I won’t stay here.'”

He continued: “Then an assistant to James Cameron came by and asked me to come to the set, where they were filming, and he tapped me on the shoulder… and said, ‘Welcome,’” Braeden said.

The Y&R veteran added that Cameron was “charming” saying when he’d finished a scene, the director yelled ‘Never!’, leading Braeden to believe he’d been criticized.

“I was ready to do battle. I said, ‘What the hell did you say?’ He said, ‘That’s the last line of the movie (Colossus: The Forbin Project),’ which I starred in. So he was a fan of the film, so it was nice. It was a wonderful time.”

The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on CBS.