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Director James Cameron concedes Jack could have survived Titanic ending

Titanic has just celebrated its 25th anniversary and the movie remains as timeless as the debate on whether there was enough space on that piece of debris for Jack.

To mark the anniversary, director James Cameron has conducted an experiment to put the debate to rest for good.

Using two stunt people – of a similar age, height and weight as the movie’s stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio when they filmed Titanic – Cameron recreated the scene with various scenarios to test if Jack could have made it.

It was part of National Geographic’s special Titanic: 25 Years Later With James Cameron.

For the scientific experiment, three scenarios were tested, including the most favoured theory online – that both Jack and Rose could fit on the debris.

Only one scenario gave both Jack and Rose a chance at surviving, but even then, there are a lot of variables, the director noted.

Leonardo Di Caprio, Kate Winslet

Many have said there was enough room for both Jack and Rose on the piece of debris in the film.

Could Jack have survived?

Many people have argued over the years that Jack and Rose would have both been able to lie on the debris and survive, instead of Jack floating away.

But when that theory was tested by Cameron, it was proven to be false.

When the stunt doubles got on the piece of wood, they both ended up being submerged in “dangerous levels of freezing water,” Cameron said.

The next test was to see if the stunt people were able to both fit on the debris, but with their upper bodies out of the water. This scenario was a little more successful than the first.

“He could’ve made it pretty long, like, hours,” Cameron says in the National Geographic special.

However, these were stunt people who are trained and not actual victims on the Titanic. So there was the issue of endurance.

In the film, Jack and Rose would have been exhausted at the time they were in the water. To simulate this, the stunt people were thrown around a bit and acted out a few of the scenes in the movie to tire them out.

Pictured are the stunt people acting out the scene from Titanic

There’s only one way both Jack and Rose could have survived. Photo: National Geographic

Then, they both got back on the debris, once again sitting up to keep their upper bodies out of the freezing water.

This time around, “Rose” gives “Jack” her life jacket, to give him some insulation.

“He stabilised, he got into a place where we projected that … he just might have made it until a lifeboat got there,” Cameron said.

In Cameron’s opinion, only in the last scenario is there a chance that Jack could have survived.

“But there’s a lot of variables,” he said.

So, the experiment found they both could have fit on the debris, but only survived if they sat up, protecting their vital organs from the chill, and if Rose gave Jack her life jacket to keep him warm.

There are also things that can’t quite be tested even in the best sort of experiment.

“In an experiment in a test pool, we can’t possibly simulate the terror, the adrenaline, all the things that worked against them,” Cameron said, according to Entertainment Weekly.

“He couldn’t have anticipated what we know today about hypothermia. He didn’t get to run a bunch of different experiments to see what worked the best.”

Cameron’s regret

Hindsight is 20/20, and after 25 years and the experiment, Cameron revealed what he would do differently knowing what he does now.

To eliminate any sort of doubt surrounding whether Jack could have survived or perished, he would have made the raft smaller.

That way, perhaps people wouldn’t have spent the past 25 years debating the possibilities.

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