In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Cameron explained why Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) had to die at the end of the film. He also told why Rose (Kate Winslet) didn’t make room for Jack on the board she was floating on.
“The answer is very simple because it says on page 147 [of the script] that Jack dies. Very simple,” the director said, using a throwaway line he’s said before.
“Obviously it was an artistic choice, the thing was just big enough to hold her, and not big enough to hold him,” Cameron said.
“Had he lived, the ending of the film would have been meaningless,” he said. “The film is about death and separation; he had to die. 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.”
Earlier this year, Cameron told The Daily Beast that he disagrees with a viral photo that showed both Jack and Rose could have fit on the board together:
He also shot down a theory from an episode of “Mythbusters” in which hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage said Jack could’ve lived by tying his and Rose’s lifejackets to the bottom of the plank.
Nope, not happening, said Cameron:
OK, so let’s really play that out: you’re Jack, you’re in water that’s 28 degrees, your brain is starting to get hypothermia. Mythbusters asks you to now go take off your life vest, take hers off, swim underneath this thing, attach it in some way that it won’t just wash out two minutes later—which means you’re underwater tying this thing on in 28-degree water, and that’s going to take you five to ten minutes, so by the time you come back up you’re already dead. So that wouldn’t work. His best choice was to keep his upper body out of the water and hope to get pulled out by a boat or something before he died.
Kate Winslet confessed that even she thinks Jack could have been saved at the end of the film.
“You know, I think he could have actually fit on that bit of door,” the actress told Jimmy Kimmel in 2016. If only she could have moved over.