Titanic director James Cameron reveals genius reason he only cast extras under 5ft 8

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11 Dec 2023, 14:41

Titanic director James Cameron reveals genius reason he only cast extras under 5ft 8

Credit: Rex

Director James Cameron has shared an impressive movie hack he used while filming 1997's blockbuster Titanic.

The filmmaker revealed how he overcame the limited budget and saved money on the movie, which was the most expensive feature ever made 25 years ago, by only hiring people of a certain height as background artists.

Speaking about the specific casting, Cameron told the LA Times: "We only cast short extras so it made our set look bigger.

"Anybody above 5ft 8ins, we didn’t cast them. It’s like we got an extra million dollars of value out of casting.

“The scale of everything was beyond anything we could imagine in terms of our prior experience. At the time we thought, wow, there’s no way this movie could ever make its money back. It’s just impossible. Well, guess what?” Cameron said.

To save on money, Cameron and producer Jon Landau scrapped an entire set and combined two sets together – one for pre-iceberg scenes and the second one tilted at six degrees.

He explained: "We compromised the three degrees and we saved $750,000 (£596K).

Titanic director James Cameron reveals why he only cast extras under 5ft 8ins

Credit: 20th Century Fox

“If the studio had had their way, they would have cut the entire ship sinking,” Cameron added.

“The smartest thing we did was do the sinking last. It wasn’t because of strategy — it was simply because you sink the set last because otherwise it doesn’t look so good the next morning when you bring it back up.”

The 1997 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet won 11 Oscars and was the highest grossing film of all time.

The movie is being re-released with a 4K Blu-ray and limited edition box set to mark its 25th anniversary.