The “Titanic” director James Cameron is well aware of the fan theory that Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack could have survived the icy waters by climbing onto the door with Kate Winslet’s Rose.
The “Titanic” director is investigating in National Geographic’s special “Titanic: 25 Years Later with James Cameron” (airing Sunday at 9 p.m. ET). He’s already discovered a significant flaw: the doomed lovers weren’t clinging to a door.
“A new investigation we’ve just completed will settle this fan-based question about Jack and Rose and a piece of floating debris that everyone calls a door,” Cameron said in January at a Television Critics Association panel.
“It’s not a door,” Cameron explained. “It’s a piece of first-class cabin wood panelling.”
Cameron gets one point for giving the rest of the fan theory “forensic investigation” in the documentary, which will coincide with the anniversary “Titanic” theatrical re-release on Feb. 14.
“Titanic: 25 Years Later” will scientifically recreate what fictional characters Jack and Rose would have experienced after the legendary ocean liner sank into the freezing North Atlantic waters. In the film, debris-clinging Jack died, while Rose survived.
In studies overseen by University of Otago hypothermia expert James Cotter, stunt doubles chosen for their similar body types to the lovers in the film recreated the scene in a New Zealand pool.
The water temperature was increased from 28 degrees to 56 degrees, with the doubles recreating the water actions in 56 degree water for twice the exposure time.
“That actually plots out quite accurately according to the algorithms,” Cameron said of the “scientific approach” to determining whether Jack would have survived if he had pulled himself onto the precariously floating platfo next to Rose.
“We weren’t trying to prove or disprove anything; we were just asking, ‘Does doing this make it better?'” Cameron produced, wrote, and directed the 1998 Academy Award winner for best picture.
“We came to some pretty hard and fast conclusions across four tests,” he added, without revealing the results.
For more than a decade, the “door” theory has been a hot fan topic, even being explored on a 2012 episode of “Mythbusters” – with the conclusion that both Jack and Rose could have fit on the floating debris. Cameron disagreed with the episode’s findings, stating, “The script says Jack dies, he has to die.”
But in “Titanic: 25 Years Later,” he’ll delve into the subject scientifically.
Cameron promoted the documentary after attending an event honouring his current film, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” as one of the American Film Institute’s best films of 2022.
Cameron also revealed two new upcoming instalments of National Geographic’s Earth Day franchise series, titled “Secrets of the Bees” and “Secrets of the Penguins,” at the TCA event.