It launched her into stardom, started her on the path to becoming one of the most respected actors of her generation, and even earned her the first of four Best Actress Oscar nominations. Even so, Kate Winslet has said that she can't watch Titanic without feeling mortified. She of course starred in the 1997 historical romance as socialite Rose DeWitt Bukater opposite Leonardo DiCaprio as steerage rogue Jack Dawson. The film was an unprecedented financial success, becoming the first ever to make more than a billion dollars at the box office. And it was an awards season darling too, winning 11 Oscars out of 14 nominations. So what gives? Keep reading to find out why Winslet finds the film so embarrassing, and for hits to add to your watch list, check out The Best Movie That Came Out the Year You Graduated, According to Critics.
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Winslet hates watching herself in her biggest film.
In 2012, CNN spoke to Winslet ahead of the theatrical release of the new 3D version of the film, and Winslet explained that she can't bear to watch Titanic. When asked if there were any scenes she looked back on with a desire to do things differently, the actor answered, "Every single scene."
"I'm like, 'Ugh, really? Really? You did it like that? Oh my god,'" Winslet said, wincing. "And even my American accent, I look at it and I'm like, 'Ugh, I can't even listen to myself.' It's awful, hopefully it's so much better now."
Naturally, after a couple more decades of making movies, Winslet felt that her craft had evolved.
However, she did indicate that being squeamish about watching her own work isn't something that's gone away as her skill has developed. "It sounds terribly self-indulgent, but actors do, I think, tend to be pretty self-critical, and I have a very hard time watching myself anyway," she said. "But no, my god, I watch Titanic and just think, 'Ah, I want to do that bit again. Can't we go again? Please? One more take?'"
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Winslet struggled with the instant fame.
Winslet already had five films under her belt when Titanic came out. After making her film debut in Heavenly Creatures, she had kept working onscreen, even earning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for Sense&Sensibility. But with its $200 million budget and blockbuster success, Titanic came with a lot more pressure and exposure.
"Back then, there were things about the experience of being made that famous that quickly that were very challenging, really challenging," the actor told CNN. "Nothing can prepare you for being thrown into the public eye and the media madness in the way that I was."
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She's also hinted that shooting Titanic wasn't always a pleasant experience.
Titanic director James Cameron has built up a reputation of being a "difficult" person to work for. In a 2020 interview with Collider, Winslet acknowledged that the process of making a water-based disaster movie on a massive scale wasn't easy, but avoided pointing fingers at Cameron specifically, saying, "It was very, very stressful and things were tough for all involved."
That said, however, she did note that Cameron, who she's reunited with for the sequels to Avatar, has mellowed over the years. "The Jim Cameron on Avatar, he is calmer," the actor said. "I will say that he's just much more stepped into his true self, I think. That's because of experience."
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There were tons of rumors before its release that Titanic was going to flop.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast in 2017 (as reported by Entertainment Weekly), Winslet remembered the negative buzz surrounding the big-budget film's debut and said that many were seemingly rooting for it to fail.
"I think I was aware of all that negativity and I remember being quite upset by that, 'cause all I had done was quite innocently gone off and done a job and worked really hard and I was really excited about this film and all the lovely friends I had made, and I was like, 'Aw, people are being mean about our film and it hasn't even come out yet,'" the actor said. "And I remember being quite baffled by that and confused by that in ways that, if I'm being honest with you, I'm still baffled."
For films critics actually hated, here's The Worst Movie of All Time, According to Critics.