Claire Danes says she was offered the role of Rose in ‘Titanic’ opposite Leo

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I’ll be completely honest and date myself terribly: I never gave a crap about Titanic, and in the 1990s, Leo DiCaprio’s best and most romantic role was in Romeo + Juliet. It’s true. I’ve seen that movie a million times. He’s REALLY good in it. Claire Danes is good in it too. They have amazing chemistry together. That was back when Leo wanted to be a romantic lead – after Titanic, he largely gave it up in favor of dark, gritty, unromantic roles where his characters rarely even speak to women. Why this stroll down memory lane? Because Claire Danes was asked about that moment in time, post-Romeo, when she was offered the lead in Titanic opposite Leo.

Claire Danes was almost the Rose to Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Jack in Titanic. The Homeland actress, 40, opened up about turning down the role that eventually went to Kate Winslet on Monday’s Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. When Shepard asked if she’d been offered the part of Rose, she said, “I think I did. I’m not entirely clear on that. There was strong interest.”

Danes had already starred as Juliet in Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film Romeo + Juliet with DiCaprio as Romeo. “I had just made this romantic epic with Leo in Mexico City, which is where they were going to shoot Titanic,” Danes said. “And I just didn’t have it in me.”

While Danes knew she didn’t want the part, she said DiCaprio “was wrestling with the decision whether to do it or not… And I remember, Leo and I shared a manager at the time, and we were there at the office. I was on a balcony, which is funny [because of Romeo + Juliet]… and Leo had this rental red convertible, some, like, hot rod-dy car. And he was kinda going in circles in the parking lot. And I knew he was wrestling with the decision to do that movie or not and he just looked up at me, and he said, ‘I’m doing it. I’m doing it.’ And I could see he wasn’t sure, but he was like, f*** it, I gotta do this thing.’ And I looked down on him going, like, I totally understand why you are doing it. And I’m not ready for that,” Claire explained. “I remember after that movie came out and he just went into another stratosphere.”

Danes said she could see a shift in how other people treated the young actor, calling it “a little scary…I think I may have sensed that I was courting that [level of fame] or I was proximate to that. I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want it.”

The actress said she has “zero regret” in turning down the role, adding, “I was really clear about it. I wasn’t conflicted. It was going to propel me to something I knew I didn’t have the resources to cope with. I knew I had to do a lot of foundation building.”

[From People & JustJared]

To be fair, she didn’t say she had a for-sure offer and I think James Cameron got it right by casting Kate Winslet, and clearly Kate and Leo really bonded like crazy on that film. But yeah… justice for Romeo + Juliet! Claire and Leo’s chemistry is underrated. And just the image of Leo doing circles in a parking lot, trying to decide whether to do Titanic… wow. Claire Danes has got some vintage ‘90s tea!

2018 Glamour Women of the Year Awards

Leonardo DiCaprio attends the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 05, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California © Jill Johnson/jpistudios.com

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red.

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46 Responses to “Claire Danes says she was offered the role of Rose in ‘Titanic’ opposite Leo”

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  1. Snappyfish says:

    There were so pretty together in ‘Romeo + Juliet’

  2. mika says:

    I remember hearing this rumour when Titanic first came out… did not believe it at the time because I thought it was too unimaginative a choice. Oh well.

  3. LaUnicaAngelina says:

    Romeo + Juliet was one of my favorite movies as a teen. I LOVED it, the soundtrack, and Leo. Lol! Ahhh the 90s.

    • Mel M says:

      Same. I remember my friends and I went to see it in the theater multiple times and we sat way to close to the screen. We were obsessed with Leo and hated Claire Danes lol it sounds so freakin silly now. Ironically now I love CD and Leo can retire for all I care. And yes the soundtrack is still epic.

    • Jessica Belcher says:

      Yeesss I loved that soundtrack!! I still have it somewhere on CD

  4. Normades says:

    I always thought Kate and Leo were mismatched in that movie. I think they’re the same age but she just came off as much older to me since he was still so boyishly handsome at the time.

    • ChillyWilly says:

      Totally agree! She was too womanly for him. He was still so scrawny and baby faced. Claire would have been better IMO. I also loved their Romeo + Juliet. I need to watch that again soon.

    • Jane'sWastedTalent says:

      Never realized Titanic could’ve been an enjoyable movie until just now, imagining it with Claire Danes instead.

    • kerwood says:

      I thought I was the only one who thought that!

    • Spicecake38 says:

      So strongly agree,thought it was just me…
      They were so unbalanced,she was young with a womanly beauty,and had the hot but naive thing going on,but I sat there watching that movie thinking -Why would she fall for such a boy???
      Frankly watching him in that role,all I see is Arnie from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape!

  5. minx says:

    I’ve read a lot about the Titanic casting and I don’t think she was actually offered the role. I know Goopy claims the same thing. A lot of names were floated but as I recall Winslet was the only one asked.

    • Jegede says:

      Exactly.

      It’s like Moulin Rouge almost every actress is said to have read for the part.🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      IIRC Winslet literally stalked Cameron for that role as she herself said that he was hesitant to give it to her.

      • Mrs.Krabapple says:

        I remember Winslet sent James Cameron some roses with a photo of herself naked, with a note something like “I’m your Rose.” It was creepy then, and it’s creepy now. I can’t imagine what we’d think of a man who sent something like that (naked picture of himself) to a woman he didn’t know. Since then “Kate Winslet” = “Yuck” in my memory.

  6. P says:

    The Romeo+Juliet soundtrack is just the best soundtrack ever.

  7. Caitlin says:

    I thought this was pretty well known? Maybe it’s just me being a 90’s baby and having seen titanic maybe 100 times? 😂😂 I can’t see Claire in the role at all. She just doesn’t have the charisma young Kate Winslet had, or the spunk.

    • StormsMama says:

      Yes Caitlin exactly!
      I’m pretty sure she actually talked about it back then in Sassy – she went to Yale and wanted to really be a thespian and study the craft, after my so called life and Romeo and Juliet.
      She was considered for obvious reasons coming off that film but that never meant she got an offer. She would’ve been wrong as Rose. Kate was perfect; she was believable as that woman on that journey in a way that gifts Leo’s performance with authenticity. Bc let’s face it, the Jack Dawson character is the fairy tale. Kate’s Rose is the role that really anchors the story in reality…

    • lucy2 says:

      I saw Titanic a bunch too, LOL. It was the BIG movie at the time.
      I remember Claire and Gwenyth both being mentioned with it back then.

  8. Allz says:

    I remember Kate Winslet saying she was picked for this movie and her begging Leo to do because he didn’t want to. So I wonder if Claire wasn’t offered but maybe asked by her manager to audition, as it sounded like Kate was picked pretty early in the process.

  9. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Same Kaiser. I was a teen when those films came out and I was all about Romeo & Juliet. I was also obsessed with Leo. I had a HUGE crush on him. But I liked edgy indie movie Leo. Titanic killed my lady boner for him permanently. And even then I didnt get the big deal about Titanic. It was overrated to me. I saw it once in theaters and have never seen it again. I’ve seen R&J more times than I can count.
    Leo and Claire had fantastic chemistry, but yes I do think Kate Winslet was the right choice for Rose. It’s funny that both Claire and Kate were my favorite actresses during those years.

  10. Lucy says:

    Agreed. That movie was bonkers, but amazing. Also, I think of Revolutionary Road as The Superior DiCaprio&Winslet film.

  11. Floofy says:

    Didn’t they approach a bunch of actresses to play Rose? IIRC this wasn’t that easy of a sell.

  12. Boo says:

    I saw Titanic in the theater six times. LOL.

  13. Eva says:

    Yes! To me Romeo+Juliet is the iconic 90s movie, not Titanic.

  14. KBeth says:

    I love Titanic!! Not a Claire Danes fan so glad they chose Winslet.

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      I loved it too. And I soooooo remember watching it in theaters. It was the first time I left my baby. I was in the throes of breastfeeding. We all remember how long that movie lasted right? My milk let down like four times. When it was time to leave, my bewbs were like boulders and my shirt was drenched and dripping. I was so embarrassed and sat there holding my big ass purse across my chest until everyone left. :P

  15. MellyMel says:

    They were so pretty! The 90s were a time! And another huge fan of Romeo + Juliet…seriously so good!

  16. sue denim says:

    all I remember about Titanic is having to go to the bathroom the whole time, because of all that rushing water, but I was stuck in a middle seat on a long row… haha

  17. Meg says:

    I could never get through Romeo and Juliet but God leo was cute, ugh

  18. greenmonster says:

    I didn’t give a single F-word about Leo, esp. in Romeo + Juliet. That movie had John Leguizamo as Tybalt and Harold Perrineau as Mercutio in it. Mercutio was EVERYTHING!

  19. AmyB says:

    I loved Titanic and yes I am an 80s and 90s girl! Kate Winslet was definitely the better choice for Rose in that role in my opinion. And I could be wrong here, but weren’t there rumors/or gossip that Claire and Leo did not really get along during their filming of Romeo & Juliet?

    But yes I also agree as well that Revolutionary Road was a brilliant film too! I love Kate & Leo’s friendship – which originated on Titanic !

  20. Meg says:

    I thought leo and Claire did not get along and Claire didn’t want to work with him again? I thought I read that somewhere

  21. Oliviajoy1995 says:

    I thought I remember reading they couldn’t stand eachother when making Romeo and Juliet. Weird she would be asked to be in another movie with him. Wasn’t Gwyneth Paltrow also offered the part of Rose too?

  22. Claudia says:

    I’ve known this for 20 years I think, she’s talked about it then already.

  23. LDub311 says:

    Oh. My. Gaw. I looooooved R+ J! I was obsessed, I loved Harold Perrineau, & whenever I hear #1 Crush by Garbage it takes me right back to that time.