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Claire Danes

Claire Danes Explains Why She Turned Down 'Titanic' -- And Reveals Leonardo DiCaprio Almost Did Too!

Titanic Claire Danes Leonardo DiCaprio Romeo Juliet

We LOVE to think about castings that almost were, but this is maybe the biggest one of all time.

Years ago our minds were blown when we first heard Titanic was almost a Romeo + Juliet reunion, with Claire Danes opposite Leonardo DiCaprio again.

As she confirmed way back in 2012, the Homeland star was offered the role first — but turned it down, opening the door for acclaimed but relatively little known British actress Kate Winslet to steal the hearts of the entire world, in addition to the Heart of the Ocean of course.

Related: The Real Titanic Will Disappear By 2031

The question we’ve never gotten a satisfactory answer to is…


Claire opened up about the huge decision on Dax Shepard‘s Armchair Expert podcast on Monday, saying:

“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.”

And it wasn’t just her. Apparently the star-crossed celluloid lovers were offered the roles at the same time because Claire clearly remembers Leo was ALSO “wrestling with the decision whether to do it or not.”

Wow. That is truly mind-blowing. Titanic with Claire Danes we can almost imagine, but with someone else as Jack?? No way!

Leo and Claire in Romeo + Juliet
“Never let go, Juliet.” / (c) 20th Century Fox via WENN

Thankfully Leo came to the historically correct decision. His one-time only co-star remembers him driving a red convertible around in circles outside his manager’s office when he finally came to the conclusion he was the king of the world. She recalls he “looked up at me and said, ‘I’m doing it! I’m doing it!'”

“And I could see he wasn’t sure. But he was like, ‘F**k it, I gotta do this.”

And that was that. For Leo anyway…

“And I looked down at him going 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.”

Which part was she not ready for? More love scenes with Leo? Nah, it was something else. Even before the movie came out, there must have been something in the air because even then Claire had a sense of how big that flick was going to get — and how famous its stars would be subsequently.

“I remember after that movie came out and he just went into another stratosphere.”

She remembers the way people treated Leo changed after that movie, and it frankly became “a little scary.” Claire says:

“I think I may have sensed that I was courting that or I was proximate to that. I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want it.”

For the 40-year-old there are “no regrets” about turning down the biggest movie of all time (it held the record for like 20 years anyway).

“I was really clear about it. I wasn’t conflicted. It was going to propel me to something I knew I didn’t have the resources to cope with. I knew I had to do a lot of foundation building.”

It’s rare to find a young actor who can recognize their own limitations, much less have the discipline to turn down such a huge opportunity. While it may seem BANANAS from the outside, it seems Claire made the right decision for Claire.

And for Kate, of course. LOLz!

Kate Winslet the one true Rose
Kate Winslet, the one true Rose. / (c) Paramount via WENN

Do YOU wish you could watch Titanic with Leo and Claire instead??

[Image via Paramount/YouTube/WENN/Sidewalk.]

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Jan 29, 2020 10:55am PDT