Jack In Movie Titanic Could Have Survived: Director
Titanic director James Cameron has admitted that Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack could’ve survived the end of the film.
Ever since the classic 1997 blockbuster premiered, fans have questioned whether Jack could have successfully climbed onto the wooden panel alongside Rose – instead of staying in the water and catching hypothermia.
During the National Geographic’s upcoming one-hour special Titanic: 25 Years Later with James Cameron, the filmmaker said (via Rolling Stone): “We released Titanic 25 years ago, but, despite all our efforts to make the film as accurate as possible, there’s one thing some fans just can’t accept: they insist Jack could’ve survived if he climbed on that floating piece of debris with Rose.”
Cameron enlisted the help of stunt performers Josh Bird and Kristine Zipfel – believed to be of a similar height and weight to Titanic’s two leads – to put the scene’s accuracy to the test with the use of a large body of cold water, a same-sized raft, human temperature readers, and a “degree of buoyancy you see in the film”.
Initial results concluded that Jack would indeed suffer from hypothermia after 20 minutes. The real-life rescue crews took around two hours to get survivors out of the water.
But further along, both Bird and Zipfel comfortably shared the raft itself, with the best practice being dipping only their lower legs below the waterline (their float would become far too unsteady otherwise), allowing them to share body heat.
Cameron subsequently acknowledged that Jack would’ve therefore survived for “a few hours”, long enough for the rescuers to arrive.
Keen to recreate the chaos of the boat-jump, Cameron had his stunt duo briefly sink underwater before tussling with a fellow passenger and swimming to safety.
And yet, Bird and Zipfel still managed to maintain a survivable body temperature for several hours, so long as they used an optimal body arrangement and she passed over her lifejacket for warmth.
“Final verdict: Jack might have lived!” Cameron noted, “but there’s a lot of variables… In a well-lit experiment in a test pool, we can’t possibly simulate the terror, the adrenaline, all the things that would have worked against them.
“[Jack] didn’t get to run a bunch of different experiments to see what worked the best. Jack’s survival might have come at the cost of her life.
“Based on what I know today, I would have made the raft smaller so there’s no doubt.”