James Cameron Says He Conducted ‘Scientific Study’ To Find Out If Jack Had To Die In ‘Titanic’

(Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP) (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)

Carson Choate Contributor
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James Cameron, who directed the 1997 film “Titanic,” says he has conducted a scientific study proving that Jack Dawson, one of the main characters in the movie, could not have survived.

In the movie, the young lovers Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) are stranded on a floating door after the sinking of the eponymous ocean liner. Rose climbs atop the piece of flotsam, but it begins to capsize when Jack tries to get on. Jack, being madly in love with Rose, allows her to remain on the door and drowns in the freezing Atlantic. Since the film’s release, fans and critics alike have complained that Jack’s death was unnecessary.

Mythbusters” hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage previously tested the Titanic scene in 2013 and ultimately found that Jack could have survived if they had put Rose’s life vest under the door to help keep it afloat.

Cameron disputed these claims in a recent interview with The Toronto Sun, in which he promoted his upcoming film “Avatar: The Way of Water.” Cameron told the Sun that there was no way Jack would have realistically survived the event. “We have done a scientific study to put this whole thing to rest and drive a stake through its heart once and for all,” Cameron said.

The award-winning director described this study as a “thorough forensic analysis with a hypothermia expert” that recreated the scene from the movie. “We took two stunt people who were the same body mass of Kate and Leo and we put sensors all over them and inside them and we put them in ice water and we tested to see whether they could have survived through a variety of methods and the answer was, there was no way they both could have survived. Only one could survive,” Cameron said, adding that Jack also “needed to die” for plot-related reasons.

“It’s like Romeo and Juliet. It’s a movie about love and sacrifice and mortality. The love is measured by the sacrifice,” Cameron said. “Maybe I didn’t do it in a way that everyone agrees with, but Jack had to die. It’s that simple. If I had to make the raft smaller, it would have been smaller.”

National Geographic will air Cameron’s study on Valentine’s Day as “Titanic” makes a return to theaters.