The most haunting question in cinema has finally been asked of the man it most concerns: Could Jack have fit with Rose on that Titanic door?
Leonardo DiCaprio had the issue put to him as Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie smirked beside him during an MTV News interview this week.
Nobody needs reminding, but most audience members felt Jack Dawson and Rose Dewitt Bukater’s love should have gone on and on after they survived class warfare, Billy Zane’s bad shooting and an iceberg.
Instead, after one attempt at climbing on a handily bobbing door frame, Jack kept his body submerged and gave Rose the door to herself in a chivalrous but fatal move.
Since 1997 the plot twist has seen Kate Winslet’s Rose the subject of character assassination and Titanic director James Cameron receive “thousands” of demands to explain why he killed off Jack in the $400 million film.
“‘I’ll never let you go. I’ll never let you go’. And then she does,” said one Twitter user.
“Everybody knows that she should have got up off that board and shared it with him,” actor Keke Palmer said about Rose/Winslet.
“I’ll never get over that scene. It’s been hard to watch a movie of hers since.”
Ellen DeGeneres was similarly unhappy with the British actress, tweeting a barbed 2017 message:
Happy birthday to the absolutely wonderful Kate Winslet. My love for you is wider than that door you totally could have shared with Jack.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) October 5, 2017
Immersion in the subject is so deep on Wednesday a Google search of ‘Titanic door’ threw up nearly 49 million results.
So, over to DiCaprio, who was doing publicity with Pitt and Robbie for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Arms crossed and staring down, DiCaprio left his interviewer high and dry, which only reignited the internet forums brouhaha.
“I have no comment,” said the Oscar winner when asked about the “biggest controversy in modern cinema history”.
Robbie chimed in the door was big enough for two: “Oh my gosh, I thought it. I remember bawling my eyes out.”
She wondered if DiCaprio raised the door’s size during filming and a chuffed Pitt teased, “Could you, could you have squeezed in there? You could’ve, couldn’t you?”
It didn’t float Leo’s boat: “Like I said, I have no comment.”
— MTV NEWS (@MTVNEWS) July 15, 2019
Pitt pledged to review the original footage, and as the Google results show, he’s hardly the first.
Among the raft of Titanic fans plagued by the question, two teamed up in 2012 to demonstrate on Imgur the positions Rose and Jack could have adopted to keep both alive. Scientists argued buoyancy is the issue, not the size of the door.
Mythbusters’ Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman used an exact replica to conclude Rose and Jack could have stayed afloat if Jack had tied his life jacket to the bottom of the door for extra flotation.
Two years ago, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson blamed Jack for the epic fail: “I would’ve tried more than once,” he told HuffPost.
“The survival instinct is way stronger than that in everybody. He’s a survivor, right?”
Winslet agreed. “He just should have tried harder to get on that door, because I think we would have [fit],” she said in 2017 on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Cameron, who won the best director Academy Award for Titanic, has weighed in on the “dumbass arguments” with varying degrees of patience.
“The thing was just big enough to hold her, and not big enough to hold him,” he told Vanity Fair in 2017.
“The film is about death and separation. He had to die. So whether it was that, or whether a smokestack fell on him, he was going down.”
Cameron (who had at least 12 Titanic cameos, including one with the door) was scathing about the Mythbusters’ finding, telling The Daily Beast it was nonsense that Jack could spend “five to 10” minutes under the door tying the jacket on.
“Look, it’s very, very simple. You read page 147 of the script and it says, ‘Jack gets off the board and gives his place to her so that she can survive,” he said.
“You can do all the post-analysis you want.”
Three Adelaide Year 10 students did just that, winning the 2017 National Maths Talent Quest by proving the maths behind the jacket-under-the-door theory stood up.
Cameron doesn’t care: “It’s called art.”