Some actors have no problem watching themselves on the big screen. Others regard it as the ultimate form of torture. Nick Cage falls into the former camp; he’s so happy to watch his own films that he once travelled to Austin to crash the annual CAGED film marathon. Then there are people like Johnny Depp, who would happily never watch a single shot of themselves. Kate Winslet’s the same. In fact, the reason she can’t watch Titanic is less to do with some on-set trauma and more with her own performance.
Kate Winslet knew she wanted to play Rose from the moment she put down the script. Speaking to Access Hollywood shortly after the film’s release, she revealed what had attracted her to the character: “Her strength, her character, he determination, her inner passion: things that I just always relate to. I think it’s something that I have in me. I’m a very, sort of, outdoors, wind-wind-in-my-hair sort of a girl and all my family are, and I think that was really it for me.”
On closing the script, Winslet burst into tears, determined to secure the role. Speaking to Rolling Stone, she recalled thinking “‘Right, I’ve absolutely got to be a part of this. No two ways about it.'” But even after calling James Cameron to beg for the role and doing her screen test, Cameron remained doubtful as to whether she was right for the part. Thankfully, the director decided to take a chance and cast Winslet, giving the world one-half of the ’90s most iconic waterborne couple.
However, during a conversation with CNN many years later, Winslet expressed dissatisfaction with her performance in Cameron’s film. At the time of the shoot, she was just 21 years old relatively inexperienced. Looking back on the role with the benefit of hindsight, Winslet said that her reaction to most of her scenes are: “‘Really, really? You did it like that? Oh my God.’ It’s awful. Hopefully, it’s so much better now. It sounds terribly self-indulgent but actors do tend to be very self-critical. I have a hard time watching any of my performances, but watching Titanic I was just like ‘Oh God, I want to do that again.’”
I think it’s fair to say most people would disagree with Winslet. Her charismatic, dexterous performance as Rose continues to captivate audiences to this day. You can visit one of our favourite clips from the era-defining movie below.