Rose (Charlie, not Kate Winslet’s character) had a quibble about the narrative and asked Cameron why, with people like Benjamin Guggenheim dying on the ship, we don’t learn more about them. He said, “I wanted to hear more about what they were saying to each other. You see it, but you don’t hear much conversation.”
Cameron said that the decision was made during the editing process and that he did actually shoot some scenes with these characters that he was “very enthralled with.” Still, he explained, that had been covered before. He was happy with the actors and their performances, “so it was worthy to spend the time to shoot it.” When he went to put it together, though, things shifted. Cameron continued, saying:
“In the cutting room, I found myself focusing more on Jack and Rose because I felt personally that one could be very factual about Titanic and very correct and not be as truthful emotionally. And in a way, sometimes, by spending more time with the fictional characters, it puts you in an emotional place of openness to the greater tragedy without the specific details.”
Jack and Rose are the audience’s way into the story. If we’re focusing on other characters, it becomes about “who was on that ship” instead of “so many people from all walks of life were on that ship.” I certainly feel that way. I didn’t want to watch a who’s who film. There are documentaries about that. Plus, the famous ones were all rich, and a whole lot of people were on that ship who weren’t. Seeing half the tale through Jack’s eyes was pivotal for the story Cameron was telling.