The Reason Claire Danes Turned Down The Starring Role In Titanic

Claire Danes could've been the one leaving Jack to freeze to death in the ocean while taking up the majority of a large, floating door if movie history had gone a different way. The actress, who starred in Baz Luhrmann's lively Romeo + Juliet alongside Titanic's Leonardo DiCaprio just one year prior, has revealed she turned down the opportunity to play star-crossed lovers opposite him again in the beloved 1997 disaster movie.

As Danes admitted, the role seemed huge even back then and, if she'd said yes, the cast may have turned out completely different all round. Still, how can anyone imagine a world where Kate Winslet didn't play Rose to DiCaprio's Jack? 

Claire Danes was anxious about being super famous

Danes was appearing on Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast when she made the revelation, admitting she has "zero" regrets about turning the part down, though she did also cop to being a massive fan of DiCaprio himself. Danes told Shepard she was offered the role of Rose, "But honestly, I'd just made this romantic epic with Leo in Mexico City, which is where they were going to shoot Titanic, and I just didn't have it in me."

According to the actress, she and DiCaprio shared a manager back in the day and she recalls him "... wrestling with the decision to do that movie [Titanic] or not," until suddenly, "He just looked up at me, and he said, 'I'm doing it. I'm doing it.'" As far as Danes is concerned, DiCaprio shared the same anxieties, but he took a chance she wasn't willing to take, admitting, "I think I really wasn't ready for it" (referring to the amount of fame involved with appearing in Titanic). 

Titanic would've felt like repetition for Claire Danes

She subsequently saw DiCaprio suffering under the tabloid glare once the movie came to fruition. Danes went on to explain that she simply didn't want the intense amount of fame and scrutiny that came along with the Titanic role, regardless of what a massive opportunity it was. The actress wasn't conflicted about her decision either, noting, "I was just feeling eager to have different creative experiences, that felt like a repeat."

Danes previously told she British GQ in 2012, via My Thirsty Spot, that another big love story with DiCaprio, pretty much immediately after Romeo + Juliet, would've felt "redundant." Elsewhere, in other weird, alternative universe casting, Matthew McConaughey revealed in a 2018 interview with The Hollywood Reporter that he'd auditioned to play Jack, opposite Winslet no less.