Matthew McConaughey auditioned for Titanic, and thought he got it

Matthew McConaughey got close to being in Titanic, so much so that he actually believed he might get the James Cameron movie before Leonardo DiCaprio.

Matthew McConaughey

The amount of false hope you get as an actor seems like the worst part. You think you’ve managed to nab a great new movie, only to be glossed over. Matthew McConaughey suffered that, on one of the highest-grossing movies ever, no less.

Back in the mid-’90s, McConaughey was up for James Cameron movie Titanic. He had a real shot, too – to the point he was thinking he might have it. “I went and read with Kate Winslet and it was not one of the auditions – they filmed it so it was like into screen test time,” he tells Literally! with Rob Lowe. “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.”

As you may well know, Leonardo DiCaprio got that particular picture, as the roguish Jack who charms Kate Winslet’s Rose. That kind of disappointment stings no matter what, even if losing to DiCaprio at any point is nothing to be ashamed of.

Lowe brought it up because a rumour had perpetuated that McConaughey was offered the romance movie, and decided against it. Not the case, and McConaughey had actually asked Cameron himself to make sure there were no crossed wires.

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“The gossip over the years that I heard, was that I had the role of Titanic and turned it down. Not factual, I did not get offered that role,” he says. “I thought, ‘I gotta find that agent, because they’re in trouble, no way if I got that’, well I did never get the offer, and Jim finally confirmed that.”

They believe Cameron talked about highly considering the rom-com star, which got twisted by someone in the office and became the stuff of Hollywood legend. Funnily enough, Lowe was up for Billy Zane’s part – imagine that version of the disaster movie!

Have a look at our lists of the best drama movies and action movies if you want more thrills.