Titanic may have been one of the highest grossest movies all of all time, but it wasn’t the first ‘90s film to feature a tragic love story and a young Leonardo DiCaprio. Before Jack and Rose hit screens in 1997, there was Baz Luhrmann’s epic 1996 retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, starring Leo and Claire Danes in the title roles. Paul Rudd, fresh off the success of 1995’s Clueless, had a smaller role in the film as Juliet’s about-to-be-jilted fiance, Dave Paris.
Rudd appeared on The Graham Norton Show yesterday and shared some little known facts from that era, including a story about the time he helped convince Leo to take on what would arguably become his most famous role of all time.
The ageless star explained that his father was a historian who studied the Titanic and spoke about the tragedy at universities around the world. While wrapping up filming of Romeo + Juliet, Rudd and Leo ended up in a cab together on the way to a local bar. That’s when Leo mentioned a role he’d just been offered: Jack Dawson, the ill-fated leading man in Titanic. Leo was hesitant to accept a part in a major studio production, having done mostly indie films at that time, but Rudd encouraged him to take it, diving into Titanic facts picked up from his dad.
Leo was convinced, apparently, and the rest is history.
Rudd ultimately refused to take credit for talking Leo into the role, insisting, “We just had a conversation about it!” That said, Rudd admitted that when Leo was wavering, he exclaimed, “You should do it!” and ultimately, Leo did. Sounds pretty convincing to us, Paul Rudd. Maybe next time, you can convince Rose to make room for Jack on that floating door? WE ALL KNOW THERE WAS ENOUGH ROOM FOR BOTH OF THEM.
Both Rudd and DiCaprio went on to have incredibly successful careers in film including major projects this year, proving that the ‘90s really are back in fashion. Rudd recently starred in Avengers: End Game and will appear in Ghostbusters: 2020 next year. DiCaprio just starred in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with Brad Pitt and continues to date supermodels from his yacht. Our hearts go on and on.