The real tragedy of the love story in James Cameron’s 1997 film Titanic is that it feels like both of the main characters should have survived. Both Rose and Jack could have fit on that floating door that saved Rose’s life, surely. Mythbusters proved it. Cameron, however, maintains that Jack had to die, according to a new interview with The Daily Beast (and highlighted on Today).
For one thing, the script demands it. "Look, it’s very, very simple: You read page 147 of the script and it says, 'Jack gets off the board and gives his place to her so that she can survive,'" Cameron told The Daily Beast. But it also just makes sense in the context of the story.
To think that it could have played out as suggested by the Mythbusters hosts—who he calls "fun guys...but they're full of shit"—is a bit of a stretch, Cameron says.
OK, so let’s really play that out: you’re Jack, you’re in water that’s 28 degrees, your brain is starting to get hypothermia. Mythbusters asks you to now go take off your life vest, take hers off, swim underneath this thing, attach it in some way that it won’t just wash out two minutes later—which means you’re underwater tying this thing on in 28-degree water, and that’s going to take you five to ten minutes, so by the time you come back up you’re already dead. So that wouldn’t work. His best choice was to keep his upper body out of the water and hope to get pulled out by a boat or something before he died.
It’s a convincing argument, but our hearts will go on believing Jack could have made it through.