Matthew McConaughey auditioned with Kate Winslet for Leonardo DiCaprio's role in Titanic

By Ale Russian
February 19, 2021 02:14 PM
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Credit: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images; Everett Collection

Matthew McConaughey thought he was going to be cast in Leonardo DiCaprio's star-making role in Titanic.

The Oscar winner, who ended up having just as successful of a career as DiCaprio, talked about his audition for the iconic role on Rob Lowe's podcast Literally! with Rob Lowe.

"So I went and read with Kate Winslet [who starred as Rose] and it was not one of the auditions — they filmed it so it was like into screen test time," McConaughey, 51, said. "After we left, you know, it was one of those ones where they, like, followed me and when we got outside they were like, 'That went great.' I mean, kind of, like, hugs. I really thought it was going to happen. It did not."

McConaughey was never offered the role, despite rumors that circulated afterwards.

"I asked [director James] Cameron about this, because the gossip over the years that I heard and would see written about me was that I had the role in Titanic and turned it down," McConaughey recalled. "Not factual. I did not get offered that role."

"For a while I was saying, 'I gotta find that agent. They're in trouble,'" the actor joked. "I did not ever get the offer."

Winslet previously talked about the audition in 2017 while appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where she revealed that McConaughey was actually the studio's top pick to play Jack.

"I auditioned with Matthew, isn't that weird?" Winslet said. "Never said that in public before. I auditioned with Matthew, which was completely fantastic. It just wouldn't have been the whole 'Jack and Rose, Kate and Leo' thing."

In addition to McConaughey, it was previously revealed that Jeremy Sisto, who played Elton in Clueless, also auditioned for DiCaprio's part. There's even a video of Winslet and Sisto reading lines together.

But even Winslet wasn't a lock to play Rose. She revealed in 2012 that Uma ThurmanGwyneth Paltrow and Winona Ryder were all in the running.

The film went on to become one of the highest grossing movies of all time with $2.19 billion in gross earnings worldwide.