Paul Rudd says Leonardo DiCaprio asked him about taking on Titanic before he agreed to sign on. DiCaprio obviously took the offer from James Cameron and his career changed forever. Rudd and DiCaprio were working together on 1996's Romeo + Juliet when DiCaprio received the offer to work with Cameron and actress Kate Winslet. Titanic went on to win 11 Academy Awards in 1998 and remained the highest grossing movie of all time until 2010, when Cameron's Avatar took that coveted global spot.
In a recent talk show appearance with Graham Norton, Paul Rudd was asked about his involvement in Leonardo DiCaprio signing on for Titanic. "My father was a Titanic expert and he used to take people all over the world talking about Titanic. He would go to universities," said Rudd, before launching into the story. Rudd reveals it was his last day of shooting for Romeo + Juliet and he and the cast went out for drinks. "We all went out to a bar... I was riding to the place with Leo and he said, 'I just got offered this movie and it's a big movie,'" says Rudd.
After telling Leonardo DiCaprio that the Titanic news was "incredible," they both continued to talk about the idea. At the time, DiCaprio had mainly done indie movies and was nervous about taking on a massive studio project. Paul Rudd remembers, "He was saying, 'Well, I don't know what I'll do,' and I remember saying, 'You should do it.'" While Rudd doesn't believe he helped sway the decision, he does think "it is kind of interesting to think back on that."
Paul Rudd has another tie to Titanic. The actor revealed a few years ago that he went out for the part of Jack too. Rudd was excited about the possibility of getting the role because he already knew so much about it from his dad. However, James Cameron and crew had other ideas. He explains.
"I knew so much about the ship. I went into the audition talking about the kind of steel that was used and Harland and Wolff, where they built it... And they were like, 'OK... none of this matters.'"
While Paul Rudd didn't get the part, he joked, "I think the guy that got it was pretty good," referring to Leonardo DiCaprio. Rudd has made quite the career for himself over the last handful of years. He is now a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man. In turn, Rudd is a part of the current highest grossing movie of all time, thanks to Avengers: Endgame, where he had a pretty sizable part. It just took Rudd a little over 20 years to beat DiCaprio at the box office and take the crown. The interview with Paul Rudd is provided to us from the BBC America YouTube channel.