I bet ten of your finest American Dollars that you have seen Titanic. One of the highest grossing films of all time, it won a pretty bloomin impressive 11 Oscars. It's one of those films that gets the tears pumping a mile a minute and has so many memorable lines. Who hasn't said "draw me like your French girls" in a life drawing class? Or you know, just life in general. Hell yes, Titanic is a classic. Like many classics, it also leaves you with a lot of questions. Today, that primary question is: was Rose in Titanic based on a real person?
As it was made in 1997, I know I didn't have a computer when I first watched it, did you? I definitely didn't have a smart phone as they hadn't been invented yet. If I had, I guarantee you that the first thing I would have done would have been to Google how historically accurate the film was, focussing especially on if Rose really had survived one of history's worst maritime disasters. Films that are based on historic events are notoriously unreliable in terms of historical accuracy, with writers and directors often taking creative license and just wildin' out, in order to make a film far more interesting and Hollywood than the actual event. In the case of this particular Hollywood blockbuster, things were no different.
So in answer to the question of Rose being a real life person, the answer is well, yeah, kinda and also kinda not. So, Rose DeWitt Bukater wasn't a real person, but her character was, according to director James Cameron, partially inspired by a pretty cool and inspirational woman named Beatrice Wood.
Wood was an artist and lived life to the fullest. Her biography on her website describes how her art was her life. It reads
"Ultimately, it is impossible to separate her life experiences from the work she created, as she truly mastered the art of a life.
Born in San Francisco in 1893 to very wealthy parents, she was a rebel from the get go. Just like Rose, she wanted to carve her own path, despite protests from her parents. Back in a time when a woman not sticking to the rules was tantamount to insanity, she did what the eff she wanted.
Time spent in Paris, as both an artist and performer led to her falling for all the wrong sorts of men, with her biography saying she felt like a "monogamous woman in a polygamous world.” She developed into an accomplished ceramicist and in later life, took pen to paper and wrote several books. She lived to the ripe old age of 105, with the New York Times reporting that she attributed her long life to "chocolate and young men."
Cameron claimed her vivacious and wild rebellious character was what inspired him to write the character of Rose, based on her. In his book James Cameron: Interviews, Cameron said:
"She was a little bit the inspiration for the character in Titanic. In fact, I called her up and asked her permission to use her a little bit, to interview her and use her as a kind of model for this character even though Beatrice had no connection to the Titanic itself. She said, 'Oh I couldn't possibly do that because I'm only 35'. She was 102 at the time"
A hilarious character by all accounts, Wood sounds like she really deserved to inspire a character in film. No word on whether she would have let Jack stay on the door or not.
Watch Titanic on Saturday June 30, at 6.20 p.m. on Channel 4