Movies inspired by real-life events are always prone to controversies, especially for their representation of people involved in those situations. And despite its colossal success, James Cameron’s Titanic was no different and garnered a heap of controversies.
Even though the Titanic isn’t the most historically accurate source for analyzing the impact of the real-life tragedy, some people were upset by its dramatization of the real-life victims. And among all of the depictions, the one which garnered the most heat was James Cameron’s depiction of Officer Murdoch, which even the actor who portrayed him found disrespectful.
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Ewan Stewart was upset with James Cameron’s representation of Officer Murdoch
In the movie, Ewan Stewart plays the role of Officer Murdoch, who was shown to be partially responsible for the tragedy and eventually ends his life after accidentally killing a passenger in a moment of panic. But it appeared that Officer Murdoch’s descendants weren’t quite relished by the idea of Murdoch killing himself and called out James Cameron for his wrongful depiction.
Ewan Stewart was too grief-stricken after realizing that he was portraying a real person in the movie. The actor apologized for not being aware of the situation and stated that he is ashamed about the whole thing. The actor went on to state,
“I’m ashamed to say it, really, now, I hadn’t given that a lot of thought, that I was playing a real person. I didn’t think about it as any kind of stain on the Murdoch family name. I just thought that within the context of the scene, I was still thinking about playing a character”
Even though there aren’t 100% records of the actual cause of his death, Officer Murdoch was stated to save the most lives amidst the catastrophe and was deemed a Scottish hero. Later, the Titanic director too expressed his regret and admitted that he got a little carried away in the situation.
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James Cameron admits that he was wrong with his presentation of Officer Murdoch
Despite the enormous success of the movie, James Cameron shared that he was in the wrong for getting a little carried away with the death of Officer Murdoch and didn’t think about its historical accuracy. The director explained that as a screenwriter his job was to connect every dot from the existing historical evidence and create the most sensical story, with an amount of dramatization for the narrative. Cameron goes on to apologize to Officer Murdoch’s family by stating,
“I think I got a little carried away with the narrative and was not sensitive to the impact that it might have had on the families. And this is the responsibility that one carries when you’re making what’s essentially a big docudrama because you’re telling the story of something that happened”
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Despite all the controversies, Titanic is still considered one of the most influential movies of all time. And even though the movie garnered a heap of criticism for presenting Officer Murdoch in a controversial light, James Cameron’s apology did provide a sense of relief among the fans.
Titanic is available to stream on Disney+.
Source: Entertainment Tonight