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5 Things You Didn't Know About the 'Titanic' Movie - 20 Years Later

November 1, 2017

It’s been twenty years since “our hearts went on” as we cried in theaters during Titanic. The movie was released 20 years ago today.

Yes, we met Jack and Rose for the first time on November 1, 1997.


We’re marking the occasion by sharing five things you may not know about the movie. This list surprised us too:

1. The Cast and Crew Became High on PCP-laced Chowder in Nova Scotia One Night

Yes, this really happened. On the final night of shooting in Nova Scotia (August 9, 1996), somebody (or a group) actually mixed the hallucinogenic drug phencyclidine (known more commonly as PCP or angel dust) into the chowder that was being served to the film’s cast and crew. It’s not clear who spiked the food, but Bill Paxton described the incident to Entertainment Weekly in 1996.

“Within 15 minutes after eating…some people were laughing, some people were crying, some people were throwing up.” 

Paxton was one of many who went to the hospital following the incident. Shooting continued the same day, according to reports.

2. The owners of Macy’s Department Stores Are Characters In the Movie

Remember that elderly couple that we see hugging on the bed as the water floods their room? Those characters were inspired by Ida and Isidor Straus, the owners of the Macy’s department store in New York. They died on the Titanic.

Ida was actually offered a spot on a lifeboat, according to many reports. Apparently, she is known for saying, “as we have lived together, so we shall die together.”

3. The movie cost more to produce than the ship’s construction originally cost.

So the 1997 movie cost about $200 million to produce, according to IMBD. The ship cost $7.5 million to construct. That was obviously a long time ago, but even when that number is adjusted for modern day inflation, the ship cost about $150 million.

For some additional perspective, by the way, Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas cruise ship (which launched last year) cost about $1 billion dollars to construct, according to published reports.

4. Country Singer Reba McEntire turned down the role of Molly Brown.

Yes, Reba McEntire was originally cast in the role. An extended production schedule, however, kept her out of the role because of her prior concert engagements.  

The role, of course, went to Kathy Bates instead.

5. Celine Dion Did Not Want to Sing “My Heart Will Go On”

The singer told Billboard she didn’t want to record the song. She had a ton of success with “Because You Love Me” and a song for the Beauty and the Beast movie. Her husband, Rene Angelil, convinced her to sing the song’s demo.

The rest was history from that moment. Celine and others involved in the film talked more about the song’s impact with Billboard.com ahead of Celine’s performance at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards for the film’s 20th anniversary:

BONUS: Tom Cruise Was Reportedly Considered for the Role of Jack Dawson

The movie studio (20th Century Fox) originally wanted Tom Cruise to play the role of Jack Dawson, according to Buzzfeed. James Cameron said the role had to go to Leonardo DiCaprio, so Cruise never even auditioned for the part.

In fact, we also have seen reports that there was buzz around the possibility that Brad Pitt or Matthew McCouanghey could play the too.

We are not sure how much stock to put into these rumors since Matthew McConaughey has gone on record saying that he was never offered the role in Titanic.