Claire Danes. Picture: Amy Sussman/Getty Images
Claire Danes. Picture: Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Why star turned down massive movie role

IT'S hard to imagine anyone leading the film Titanic other than Kate Winslet.

The now 44-year-old was luminous in the role of Rose, and was also nominated for Best Actress for the James Cameron epic, which is streaming on Foxtel.

But it seems producers had someone else in mind at first to star alongside Leonardo DiCaprio.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson and Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt. Picture: Supplied
Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson and Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt. Picture: Supplied

Actress Claire Danes, 40, recently paid a visit to Dax Shepard's podcast Armchair Expert, where she revealed that she turned down the lead role.

"I think I did (get offered the role)," she said.

"I'm not entirely clear on that. There was strong interest."

Danes had only just wrapped playing DiCaprio's lover in the 1996 film Romeo + Juliet, which was filmed shortly before production on Titanic was set to begin.

"I had just made this romantic epic with Leo in Mexico City, which is where they were going to shoot Titanic. And I just didn't have it in me."

Claire Danes and DiCaprio in the 1996 film Romeo and Juliet.
Claire Danes and DiCaprio in the 1996 film Romeo and Juliet.

Danes recalled DiCaprio himself was "wrestling" over whether to take a role in Titanic, as he drove around the parking lot of their manager's office.

"He just looked up at me and said, 'I'm doing it! I'm doing it!'" she said.

"And I could see he wasn't sure. But he was like, 'F**k it, I gotta do this thing.'

"And I looked down at him, and I was like, 'I totally understand why you're doing that. And I'm not ready for that.'

"And I think I really wasn't ready for it. And I remember after that movie came out … He just went into another stratosphere."

Indeed, DiCaprio's star skyrocketed, as did Winslet's, after the release of the film, which became the highest grossing movie ever at the time.

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Winslet has become one of Hollywood’s best known actresses. Picture: AP/Joel Ryan
Winslet has become one of Hollywood’s best known actresses. Picture: AP/Joel Ryan

Despite this, Danes said she had "zero regret" over giving up the role, especially after seeing how fame altered the way people treated DiCaprio.

"I think I may have sensed that I was courting that (level of fame) or I was proximate to that … And I just couldn't do it. I didn't want it.

"I was just really clear about it. I wasn't conflicted."

Danes wasn't the only friend that DiCaprio confided in while trying to decide whether to star in Titanic.

On The Graham Norton Show, actor Paul Rudd - also a Romeo + Juliet cast member - revealed he had encouraged DiCaprio to take the role.

"He was saying, 'Well, I don't know what I'll do,'" said Rudd, 50, of DiCaprio, 45. "And I remember saying, 'You should do it.'

"I don't think I had any say. But it is kind of interesting to think back on that," Rudd added.

This story originally appeared on Fox News and has been reproduced here with permission

Danes has had a successful career herself. Picture: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for FIJI Water
Danes has had a successful career herself. Picture: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for FIJI Water

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