I believe that a large subsection of people might have wondered if there were an actual Jack and Ross, among the passengers who boarded in the RMS Titanic, back in 1912. James Cameron indeed did bring many life passengers of the tragedy-stricken ship, in his 1997 Epic ‘Titanic’. Some of them were Margaret Brown a.k.a. ‘The Unsinkable Molly Brown’, Captain Edward John Smith, Thomas Andrews, and J. Bruce Ismay. Also do not forget about the controversy surrounding the wrongful depiction of officer William Murdoch, in the film.
Jack and Rose, the hero and heroine of the movie, were indeed fictitious. Fictional characters penned by none other than James Cameron himself. But isn’t it a universal thing for anything fictional, to have an actual source of inspiration? Yes, the protagonists of the movie Titanic had that too. And it’s about those sources of inspirations, I’m going to discuss here.
The basic inspiration for the jovial hero Jack Dawson was none other than James Stewart, the legendary actor of Hollywood. Each character James portrayed on screen were catalysts in the making of Jack Dawson. But on the other hand, an actual man named J. Dawson did travel on the RMS Titanic. His full name was Joseph Dawson. He was a native of Ireland. In fact, he worked as a Coal trimmer inside the Titanic. As we saw on one side of the film, his work was often contained underneath the ship. When the ship sank, he too had to succumb to his own death, just like the many ill-fated travelers who boarded on the ship. Although his body was recovered, J. Dawson was buried in the Fairview Cemetery in Nova Scotia because no one came in to claim his dead body.
After the Titanic movie was released in 1997, fans of Jack Dawson (especially girls) started making a visit to Joseph’s grave. Many were of the impression that the gravestone in Nova Scotia belonged to their hero, Jack (Yeah special thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio’s. inexplicable charm). The place is still a busy tourist spot. The interesting fact is that the existence of an actual J. Dawson inside the real Titanic, was unknown to almost everyone behind the Titanic film, including James Cameron. They later claimed it to be a matter of coincidence.
Jack’s Irish friend Tommy Ryan also had a namesake inside the original ship. But the body of Thomas Ryan, a steward inside RMS Titanic was not recovered or identified at the time.
Now let’s go to the character of Rose DeWitt Bukater. As I’ve said before, Rose is completely a fragment of James Cameron’s imagination. But Cameron also crafted her with someone else in his mind. Rose’s inspiration was an artist named Beatrice Wood, even though she didn’t travel in the RMS Titanic. All character traits of Rose were taken from Beatrice. Like Rose, she was a young woman who constantly quarreled with her mother. Beatrice wanted to be a free bird and move away from her mother, who led an aristocratic life. When Beatrice decided to be an artist, her mother sent her daughter to a large school in France. But unsatisfied with the lifestyle provided there, she travelled to the birthplace of Claude Monet, a place described as divine by many artists and considered as a source of inspiration. But when Beatrice’s mother came to know about her daughter’s lifestyle there (no great luxury), she called her and her assistant back.
Beatrice later turned to plays and more. Almost at the same time, she got into a triangular love story, just like in Titanic. And it failed. A friend later came into Beatrice’s life, advising that marrying someone could help in escaping from her class-conscious mother. That cunning friend took advantage of the situation and ended up marrying her. He later began settling his own debts through Beatrice. Beatrice finally decided to let go off the idea of getting married.
Slowly she moved from Dadaism and theatre to ceramic works and pottery. Beatrice excelled in pottery, just like Rose did lately. Beatrice was successful in all of this. Many customers rushed to see her works.
Cameron learned about Beatrice Wood’s feisty nature, humour, and mother – daughter conflict from her autobiography ‘I Shock Myself’, which was presented to him by actor Bill Paxton’s wife. And he later met Beatrice in person.
Beatrice was later invited by Cameron to the Titanic’s premiere, but had to decline the invitation due to health issues (Beatrice was a little older than the granny Rose in the film). However, James Cameron and Gloria Stewart (granny Rose) later paid a visit to Beatrice Wood (although Gloria was more than 100 in the film, she was only 87 in real life when the film came out). James Cameron tried to present Beatrice with a video copy of Titanic, before leaving. But she said no and sent them back. Beatrice had a good reason for not accepting the copy from Cameron – the plight of the characters at the end of the film. A year after the Titanic’s theatrical release, Beatrice Wood died at the age of 105, in the year 1998. She indeed did live her life to the fullest, despite the rocky period in the initial half of her life. Gloria Stewart later died in 2010. Just like Beatrice, Gloria entered the afterlife, after becoming a centenarian.
conceived and written by one of the bastards