Why Kate Winslet Believes Titanic Was ‘A Terrifying Experience’ For James Cameron

There have been a number of headlines written about the upcoming Avatar: The Way of Water stating that it has been 13 years since director James Cameron last brought audiences to the alien moon of Pandora, and how much technology has improved to aid Cameron with regards to his storytelling. We like to go back even farther than that, though, and think about the fact that Avatar: The Way of Water will reunite Cameron with his Titanic muse, Kate Winslet, after a 25 year gap. Winslet has discussed in the past how different Cameron is as a storyteller now (as opposed to the task master he was rumored to be on the Titanic set). And during our exclusive interview, the Mare of Easttown lead opened up about the challenges Cameron faced on Titanic, and how the cast helped him to overcome them. 

When we got the opportunity to sit across from Kate Winslet as part of the recent Avatar: The Way of Water press day, I asked her specifically if she wished that James Cameron had the kind of motion-capture technology at his disposal when they were making Titanic back in 1996-97. For one thing, it might have made Titanic more affordable. But as Winslet opened up about the revolutionary process they endured to make that Oscar-winning masterpiece, Winslet when on to say to us:

Titanic, for Jim, I think must have been such a kind of terrifying experience because a lot of what he was implementing, I’m sure to a certain extent was a bit experimental. And there was no room for error. My God. I mean, it was all on him. But the way that he has evolved and the things that he has done technically since then are just phenomenal. Being part of Avatar and really seeing that first hand and experiencing it and witnessing the level at which he works – the performances by the other actors, what they created with the first one, and what they were able to share with me – it was an amazing experience.

And one that the industry won’t ever forget. Titanic earned a record-tying 11 Oscars, and established James Cameron as the self-proclaimed “King of the World.” And who could argue? The man had reinvented the Alien franchise, delivered two masterful Terminator movies, and then sunk the unsinkable ship. For his follow up, Avatar, he obliterated the envelope of 3D filmmaking, while also taking audiences to a universe he created out of whole cloth. And while Cameron names three movies he believes carried the torch of 3D in his absence, he’s ready to remind moviegoers how special the visual format can be in his creative hands. 

Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

But yes, back when he was practically figuring out how to sink the Titanic, and get audiences invested in a love story between Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron had to feel the pressure off the industry, and the expectations he was putting on himself. He continues to place those limits on himself with each passing movie, and somehow figures out how to surpass them. Get tickets to Avatar: The Way of Water now, and see how Cameron manages to top himself, once again. 

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.