An Infection Held Robert De Niro Back From Being in James Cameron’s Titanic With Kate Winslet

Robert De Niro almost joined the cast of James Cameron's Titanic.

an infection held robert de niro back from being in james cameron’s titanic with kate winslet


  • Robert De Niro turned down a role in Titanic because he had gastrointestinal infection.
  • Actor Bernard Hill replaced De Niro as Captain E.J. Smith in James Cameron's 1997 film.
  • De Niro talks about working with Leonardo DiCaprio again.
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Robert De Niro almost joined James Cameron’s Titanic as Captain E.J. Smith alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet if it was not for his medical condition. The famous romantic drama of 1997 became one of the highest-grossing films of all time, cementing Cameron’s credibility as a filmmaker.

Titanic James Cameron
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet

It was also the same movie that catapulted DiCaprio and Winslet to international stardom. The pair portrayed star-crossed lovers Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater.

RELATED: “I’m going to stab you”: Joe Pesci Got a Lesson From Robert De Niro About How To Stab a Man in the Ribs Properly While Filming Goodfellas


Robert De Niro Almost Starred In James Cameron’s Titanic

The tragic sinking of the Titanic ship is one of the most heartbreaking scenes in cinematic history as well as in real life. While the characters of Jack and Rose were fictional, some figures were based on real people, such as Captain E.J. Smith and Bruce J. Ismay.

Robert De Niro, famous for his role in Goodfellas, was originally tapped to play Captain Smith. Unfortunately, the actor had to turn down the role because, according to The Mirror, he had a painful gastrointestinal infection at the time, making it difficult for him to take part in the project.

bernard hill
Bernard Hill

Bernard Hill had to take over the place of De Niro, which seemed like a wiser decision since he somehow shared a resemblance with the real-life counterpart. The role was a minor one, but it was very unforgettable for the audience.


De Niro would have made an outstanding performance in Titanic because of his acting prowess, but as the old adage goes, things happen for a reason. The actor would soon star in three other movies in the same year. Hill, on the other hand, used the role as a stepping stone to more opportunities in Hollywood. In fact, he landed the role of King Théoden in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings.

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Robert De Niro Finally Works Again With Leonardo DiCaprio

leonardo dicaprio and robert de niro
Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro

Even though Robert De Niro missed the chance to work with Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic, they were able to cross paths again in several projects, such as This Boy’s Life and Killers of the Flower Moon. The actor previously said of their recent movie collaboration in an interview with Access:


I’m so proud of Leo, he’s doing great. It was finally, it was finally a time where we can do a movie together with this film, and I hope we can do another movie together with Marty. It was a great experience.”

At 80, it seems there’s no slowing down for De Niro as he admits he is willing to do another project with DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese.

RELATED: Robert De Niro’s Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Verdict: De Niro’s Production Company to Pay $1.264 Million to His Former Assistant Graham Chase Robinson

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Written by Ariane Cruz

Articles Published: 2145

Ariane Cruz, Senior Content Writer. She has been contributing articles for FandomWire since 2021, mostly covering stories about geek pop culture. With a degree in Communication Arts, she has an in-depth knowledge of print and broadcast journalism. Her other works can also be seen on Screen Rant and CBR.