Can't say we blame him.

By Christopher Luu
Feb 08, 2019 @ 7:30 pm

By now, almost every line from Titanic has been memorized, meme-d, and shouted from the prow of a cruise ship, but one of the movie's most memorable lines wasn't actually in the script. During an episode of the BBC series Movies That Made Me, director James Cameron explained that one of Leonardo DiCaprio's lines was added at the last minute after the actual script fell flat.

Entertainment Tonight reports that "I'm the king of the world" almost didn't make it into the movie. When DiCaprio's Jack and Danny Nucci's Fabrizio express their excitement, they were supposed to say something else. Cameron explained that the script just wasn't working. In a desperate attempt to get the scene filmed, he tossed out the line and it's now a part of motion-picture history. It sounds like a movie-making fairy tale, but the truth is, Leo just didn't get it. After the suggestion, he didn't really grasp Cameron's vision.

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

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"It was made up on the spot. I was in a crane basket, and we were losing the light. I had tried this and we had tried that, tried this line and that line and it was just coming up snake eyes," Cameron says during the show. "And I said, 'Alright, I've got one for you. Just say, 'I'm the king of the world,' and just spread your arms out wide and just be in the moment and just love it and just celebrate it and love it.’ And he goes, 'What?'"

Cameron went on to explain that DiCaprio didn't take to the improv and his first few attempts didn't make the cut. Instead, Cameron told him to put his everything behind it, even if he didn't like it.

"I'm getting this over the walkie talkie. 'I'm the king of the world,' just say, 'I'm the king of the world,' but you've got to sell it!'," Cameron said of DiCaprio's reaction. "And he goes, 'What?!' I said, 'Just f--king sell it.'"

DiCaprio probably wanted to get the scene done just as bad as Cameron. According to his co-star, the conditions were awful. Both Nucci and DiCaprio were freezing and felt trapped on the prow of the fake ship.

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"Leo and I would go on a construction lift, and it would drop us off at the top, and then the lift would go away so that it wasn’t seen during filming. We were trapped on this little tower with our set coats so that we wouldn't freeze," Nucci told Vanity Fair. "We were up there for hours because you would have to bring the lift back in, take it up, and then have us go down. So we were basically trapped up there. It was one of the most hysterical experiences."

Thankfully, they managed and created one of the most memorable scenes in cinematic history. Ad-libbed or not, it's stuck in all of our heads now.

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