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Paul Rudd Encouraged Leonardo DiCaprio to Star in ‘Titanic’

Leonardo DiCaprio owes Paul Rudd a fruit basket. The Living With Yourself star revealed how he influenced his former costar to take the lead role in Titanic, forever altering the Oscar winner’s career.

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“I worked with Leonardo on Romeo + Juliet and, at the time, my father made his living — he was a Titanic expert,” Rudd, 50, explained during his appearance on The Graham Norton Show earlier this month. “He used to take people all over the world talking about the Titanic and go to universities.”

The Ant-Man actor’s expertise lent itself quite nicely to the predicament DiCaprio, 44, found himself in at the time. “It was my last day of filming on Romeo + Juliet, and we all went out to a bar afterward,” he recalled. “I was riding to the place with Leo and he said, ‘I just got offered this movie, but it’s a big movie.’ And he had done indie films to that point. He said, ‘It’s a studio movie. It’s Titanic.’”

Paul Rudd Encouraged Leonardo DiCaprio to Star in Titanic
Paul Rudd and Leonardo DiCaprio, Shutterstock (2)

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Rudd continued: “I said, ‘That’s incredible.’ And I knew a lot about Titanic ‘cause my dad just talked about Titanic. And we just had a conversation about it, and he was saying like, ‘I don’t know what I’ll do.’ I remember saying, ‘You should do it.’”

The Friends alum declined to take full responsibility for the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood star’s decision. “I don’t think I had any say,” he admitted. “But it is kind of interesting to think back on that. … ‘Cause he did it. He did do the movie.”

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DiCaprio and Kate Winslet starred as Jack Dawson and Rose Dewitt Bukater, respectively, in the 1997 film, written and directed by James Cameron. The movie won 11 Oscars, earned the Wolf of Wall Street actor a Golden Globe nomination and raked in more than $2 billion at the box office.

Leonardo Dicaprio, Kate Winslet Titanic
Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet in ‘Titanic.’ Merie W Wallace/20th Century Fox/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

Romeo + Juliet, meanwhile, was released in 1996. DiCaprio played Romeo to Claire Danes’ Juliet, while Rudd portrayed Count Paris in the Baz Luhrmann adaptation.

Cameron told Us Weekly exclusively in February that he hopes to collaborate with the Inception star again. The 65-year-old director called the move a “no-brainer” but noted that it is “more up to him than to me.” He added: “I haven’t gone as far as to write a character for him specifically, that sort of thing, but I can certainly imagine it happening.”

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