LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 19: The movie "Titanic", written and directed by James Cameron. Seen here from left, Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack and Kate Winslet as Rose after the Titanic has sunk. Initial USA theatrical wide release December 19, 1997. Screen capture. Paramount Pictures.

James Cameron now concedes that Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack might have survived” in Titanic. It’s the age-old question we’ve been asking since the blockbuster movie was released 25 years ago: Why didn’t Kate Winslet’s Rose pull Jack up onto the float with her? There was definitely enough room, right?

It’s a topic that is tackled in a new one-hour National Geographic special “Titanic: 25 Years Later with James Cameron.” The special is set to air this weekend. Cameron took a couple of stunt actors on a series of tests to see whether or not Rose and Jack could have survived if she had pulled him out of the water. We’ll explain below.

The special airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on National Geographic and streams the next day on Hulu.

  • James Cameron enlisted help from two stunt doubles

    Actors Josh Bird and Kristine Zipfel, who were thought to be about the same height and weight as Jack and Rose, were hired for the test. Cameron notes that they doubled the time for every stage of the simulation, to make up for the fact that their water wasn’t as cold as it would have been in the Atlantic Ocean in April.

  • James Cameron made sure the elements were similar to what Jack and Rose would have experienced

  • Close monitoring was done on the actors to prevent hypothermia

    Jack would have suffered severe hypothermia after only 20 minutes, far shorter than the 2 hours it took for rescue crews to arrive. But if he was pulled onto the raft, things would’ve been different.

     

  • Both actors had to work to fit themselves onto the raft

    Kneeling didn’t work and keeping only their upper bodies on top would have given them both hypothermia quickly. They compromised and sat on the raft dipping only their lower legs into the water.

  • James Cameron makes this shocking conclusion

    “Final verdict: Jack might have lived,” Cameron said, “but there’s a lot of variables.” However, he added, “In a well-lit experiment in a test pool, we can’t possibly simulate the terror, the adrenaline, all the things that would have worked against them. Jack didn’t get to run a bunch of different experiments to see what worked the best. Jack’s survival might have come at the cost of her life.”

    Cameron says he would’ve made Rose’s raft a LOT smaller now, knowing what he knows.

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