James Cameron Said He Intentionally Cast ‘Short Extras’ On ‘Titanic’ For One Reason

James Cameron
Christie Goodwin/Getty Images

Academy Award-winning filmmaker James Cameron recently revealed some secrets from making his epic historical drama “Titanic,” including the reason he intentionally cast short extras.

The Canadian-born director explained his thought process during an interview with the Los Angeles Times for the film’s 4K remastering home video release.

“The scale of everything was beyond anything we could imagine in terms of our prior experience. At the time we thought, wow, there’s no way this movie could ever make its money back. It’s just impossible. Well, guess what?” Cameron told the outlet.

“Titanic” cost a whopping $210 million to produce ($337 million adjusted for inflation), making it the most expensive film ever made at the time of its release in 1997. This causes a lot of concern in the industry, with many insiders calling the filmmaker crazy for spending so much. But even with the massive budget, Cameron said they did cut costs where they could. 


“We only cast short extras so it made our set look bigger,” Cameron explained. “Anybody above five foot eight, we didn’t cast them. It’s like we got an extra million dollars of value out of casting.”

The “Titanic” gamble did pay off in a big way. Over its lifetime, the movie made $2.2 billion, making it the highest-earning film of all time until Cameron’s “Avatar” was released in 2009.

The director said he stands by putting in the funds to make the movie, which is what made it so successful.

“If the studio had had their way, they would have cut the entire ship sinking,” Cameron told the LA Times. “The smartest thing we did was do the sinking last. It wasn’t because of strategy — it was simply because you sink the set last because otherwise it doesn’t look so good the next morning when you bring it back up.”

Cameron had previously weighed in on the infamous door controversy. Fans have been speculating for decades whether there was enough room on the floating door to save both Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet). He assured movie fans that while there may have been enough physical room, the door would not have stayed afloat with both adults on it. 

“We have done a scientific study to put this whole thing to rest and drive a stake through its heart once and for all,” Cameron told The Toronto Sun in 2022.

“We have since done a thorough forensic analysis with a hypothermia expert who reproduced the raft from the movie,” he continued. “We took two stunt people who were the same body mass of Kate and Leo and we put sensors all over them and inside them and we put them in ice water. We tested to see whether they could have survived through a variety of methods and the answer was, there was no way they both could have survived. Only one could survive.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  James Cameron Said He Intentionally Cast ‘Short Extras’ On ‘Titanic’ For One Reason