What’s that you say? You don’t remember the night sky from the movie Titanic? You mean when Rose (Kate Winslet) was clutching to the big chunk of wood and watching her beloved Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) freeze to death and sink to the bottom of the seas, you weren’t paying attention to the stars above them?
That can only be because you are not Neil deGrasse Tyson.
NdGT saw the movie, which was being bathed in the glow of “historical accuracy”, and was surprised to see that Rose was looking at a “lazy” night sky — wrong and a mirror image of itself. So NdGT sent a, as Cameron calls it “snarky”, email taking him to task.
Cameron, then King of the World, didn’t respond.
Years later they met at a science-y meeting and when NdGT asked Cameron if he knew that the stars were wrong, Cameron said he didn’t know and it happened in post production. To quote NdGT who admits to being immature about the subject – “I wanted him to grovel at my feet”. Which of course Cameron did not.
Fast forward another 3 years and Cameron is being given an award by Wired Magazine at the Rose Planetarium…which NdGT runs. “Now he’s in my house!” Of course NdGT prompts him again to find out why the stars were wrong and this time Cameron has a response “Last I checked, Titanic worldwide has grossed $1.3 billion dollars. Imagine how much more it would have grossed had I gotten the sky correct.”
Now that there’s a rerelease of the film, Cameron decided he should protect his reputation as perfectionist and told the British magazine Culture that he contacted NdGT – “So I said, ‘All right, you son of a b**ch, send me the right stars for the exact time, 4.20am on April 15, 1912, and I’ll put it in the movie.’ So that’s the one shot that has been changed.”
Of course Dr. Tyson was pretty damned thrilled to be consulted as seen in the video below:
But let’s be clear, I’m STILL not seeing Titanic again. Especially in 3D. Corrected night sky or not.