If you're big into James Cameron's 1997 masterpiece that is Titanic, then you're probably already aware that there were two endings. But Bill Paxton, the man on whom the deleted ending focused, claimed he was glad Titanic's alternative ending was cut. The actor, who played treasure hunter Brock Lovett in Titanic, was one of the main figures in the second ending, which shows him rushing to restrain old Rose (Kate Winslet), who he is worried is about to jump off the ship, and finding instead that she's about to throw the heart necklace off the ship into the ocean. This leads to Rose explaining her rationale as to why she needs to get rid of the necklace. But according to Paxton:
"I always saw the wrap-around story that I was involved with, with Suzy Amis and Gloria Stuart, we were like the gantry on the Saturn V rocket. We're there to hold the rocket up. But once the rocket takes off, the gantry is forgotten and falls away. Coming back to us was a way to wrap it up and kind of tie up the old Rose's story and all that."
"But you didn't really need anything from us. Our job was done by then. So it became very evident in the cutting. If you're smart and you take the ego and the narcissism out of it, you'll listen to the film. The film will tell you what it needs and what it does not need. And the baby needs tough love.it just wasn't necessary."
Paxton's take on the alternative ending being cut, an ending which is as much focused on his character as it is on Rose's, shows what a selfless actor he was. I'm using the past tense here because, tragically, Paxton passed away on Feb. 25 due to complications when undergoing surgery. His take on the ending was from one of his final interviews.
His take suggests he was never focused on screen time, but on the final product. This makes sense, as a character actor, and he's right, of course. If you compare this with Titanic's original ending, director James Cameron seems to have clearly opted for the superior end. While Paxton's character is given more depth in the alternative ending, Rose spelling out the true treasure — "make every moment count" — feels a little like the verse on a Hallmark card. The original ending feels less labored and more effortless. It's hard to resist tears looking at the photos gathered around Rose's bed, watching what a rich, full life she's led. It's more graceful for this to be demonstrated rather than the character iterating the importance of experiences vs. material possessions.
So, no, Brock Lovett wasn't a major character on Titanic — but he was an important one. As Paxton's interview suggested, his role wasn't about screen time, but about creating a structure for the movie that would allow its leads to take flight.