It is the biggest question that has plagued Titanic fans for decades, ever since James Cameron released his Oscar-winning epic romance into the world. No, not "Why did Rose drop the Heart of the Sea into the ocean?" (Though, I do want a solid answer to that one.) Rather, fans have been making a big deal about why younger Rose (Kate Winslet) didn't slide over on that floating door so that her soul mate, Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio), could fit and -- you know -- not freeze to death. There has been debate and discussion, but now we have the answer as to why Rose didn't let Jack on the door from none other than James Cameron himself, who explains:
Obviously it was an artistic choice. The thing was just big enough to hold her, and not big enough to hold him. ... I think it's all kind of silly, really, that we're having this discussion 20 years later. But it does show that the film was effective in making Jack so endearing to the audience that it hurts them to see him die. Had he lived, the ending of the film would have been meaningless. ... The film is about death and separation; he had to die. So whether it was that, or whether a smoke stack fell on him, he was going down. It's called art, things happen for artistic reasons, not for physics reasons.
Somewhere, in the middle of that explanation, I started to feel bad for James Cameron. Yes, he can be steadfast and insufferable, uncompromising and rude. But it's because he has the ultimate control over all of his visions, be they of Terminators or Avatars, or even historic shipwrecks that happen to destroy a young love affair. There's a reason that Cameron has the two highest-grossing movies of all time. He's a brilliant storyteller, and he knew that Jack had to go so that Titanic could be timeless.
I felt bad for him, though, because you KNOW there's no way that he could have predicted that the controversy over the door would still be a thing 20 years after Titanic stormed the film industry and became the biggest thing since sliced bread. For real, the discussion has overwhelmed a subsection of our culture, with memes and jokes and episodes of Mythbusters dedicated to proving the how and the why about the conflict.
And the fact that it keeps coming up, and that he had to address it, likely gets under Cameron's skin in the best/worst way possible.
James Cameron was opening up to Vanity Fair as part of an ongoing commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Titanic, a movie that took home 11 Oscars, including Best Picture and Director. But Cameron's not ready to coast on the success of his previous films. He's about to head back to Pandora -- with Kate Winslet in tow -- for at least two more Avatar films... though maybe not all four Avatar sequels as promised. Will one of his Na'vi fit on a door? Only time will tell.