Sorry, Mythbusters, but you may have lost this round. According to a new Vanity Fair interview with James Cameron, Jack's Titanic death didn't defy physics. While the debate about whether or not there was room for two on the door that kept Rose afloat rages on, the film's director is certain there wasn't for one very important reason — he tested it out himself.
Cameron has long been known for being a stickler for details. In 2012, just in time for the 3D release of Titanic, Cameron changed the night sky to be more historically accurate at the behest of physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. With that historical error rectified, the biggest nitpick the director has had to deal with since then has come from heartbroken Jack fans who are convinced the king of the world could've fit on the door if only Rose had scooted over a bit.
Even the popular science series Mythbusters tackled the subject, and the team found that if Jack and Rose had used Rose's life preserver to buoy the door, the chances of them both surviving would've been much higher. Of course, the characters would have needed to actually think up this plan while dealing with icy cold temperatures, which doesn't seem super plausible. Without tying the life preserver beneath the wood, the Mythbusters argued that Rose and Jack still had a shot at survival if they shared the door, because most of their bodies wouldn't have been exposed to the water. However, Cameron disagrees for good reason.
In a new interview with Vanity Fair, the director revealed,
"I was in the water with the piece of wood putting people on it for about two days getting it exactly buoyant enough so that it would support one person with full free-board, meaning that she wasn’t immersed at all in the 28 degree water so that she could survive the three hours it took until the rescue ship got there. [Jack] didn’t know that she was gonna get picked up by a lifeboat an hour later; he was dead anyway. And we very, very finely tuned it to be exactly what you see in the movie because I believed at the time, and still do, that that’s what it would have taken for one person to survive."
None of this half-immersed nonsense for Cameron. As far as he's concerned, Jack wanted Rose to be completely above the water to give her a better chance of survival, and that door was only built for one. With this in mind, Titanic didn't defy the laws of physics just for the sake of offing poor Jack. The guy was doomed because he was noble, and let's be real, because he had to die so that Rose could fully learn to live.
Will Cameron's latest reveal finally settle the great debate about Jack and Rose's door-hogging? Probably not. Titanic fans are nothing if not persistent, and all the statements from the director in the world aren't going to convince everyone that Rose and Jack couldn't have lived happily ever after.
That's something Cameron can be proud of though. The passionate debate is a testament to just how much love viewers have for the Titanic couple. Rose and Jack's story was so beautiful, no one wants to let go — even if it means coming up with increasingly complex scenarios to keep Jack alive. As Cameron told Vanity Fair,
"I think it’s all kind of silly, really, that we’re having this discussion 20 years later. But it does show that the film was effective in making Jack so endearing to the audience that it hurts them to see him die."
There may never be justice for Jack, but at least fans can be comforted in knowing that Jack and Rose will always be together in Titanic heaven — physics be damned.