Claire Danes’ made her mark on Hollywood in 1996 after starring with Leonardo DiCaprio in Baz Luhrmann’s cult classic Romeo + Juliet. Remember the one we all watched in high school while studying Shakespeare?
Her career has enjoyed steady success (she’s just finished filming the sixth and final season of Homeland), but could have taken a very different turn.
During an interview with Dax Shepherd on his popular Armchair Expert podcast, Danes, now 40, confirmed a rumour that had been circulating for years — that she was offered a role in Titanic.
“I think I did (get offered the role),” she told Shepherd after he asked if the rumour was true. “I’m not entirely clear on that. There was strong interest.”
At the time, Danes, who was 17, had just finished filming Romeo + Juliet in Mexico City where Titanic was set to begin production.
“I just didn’t have it in me,” she said.
But it wasn’t just Danes who had her reservations about the blockbuster. It was also DiCaprio who “wrestled” with whether he should take the part of Jack.
In fact, Danes, who shared a manager with the Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood star, was there when he made the decision to take the project.
Doing wheelies in a red convertible in their manager’s parking lot, DiCaprio, who had been grappling with the decision, yelled up to his co-star who was (coincidentally) standing on a balcony watching him.
“He just looked up at me and said, ‘I’m doing it! I’m doing it!'” she recalled.
“And I could see he wasn’t sure. But he was like, ‘F–k it, I gotta do this thing.”
“And I looked down at him, and I was like, ‘I totally understand why you’re doing that. And I’m not ready for that.
“And I think I really wasn’t ready for it. And I remember after that movie came out … He just went into another stratosphere.”
Danes surprisingly has “zero regrets” for not taking the role, especially after seeing DiCaprio catapult into fame she’d never seen.
“I think I may have sensed that I was courting that (level of fame) or I was proximate to that… And I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want it.
“I was just really clear about it. I wasn’t conflicted.”
Can you imagine a Titanic without Leonardo DiCaprio? Or a Titanic with Leo and Claire instead of Kate Winslet?
Maybe Danes would have given him room on that damn door!