Kate Winslet's Near-Death Experience During 'Titanic'

The tragic film classic Titanic was heartbreaking to watch -- and according to star Kate Winslet, downright painful to make. Now director James Cameron is calling Winslet a liar for saying she nearly died on the set. Who's telling the truth?

Kate's side:
In a 1997 interview to promote the film, Winslet described quite a few scary moments. During one, she and co-star Leonardo DiCaprio were running from a giant wave, through a gate, and then to safety. But her coat snagged on the gate, pulling her under the water: "I had to sort of shimmy out of the coat to get free. I had no breath left. I thought I'd burst."

Another incident occurred during the shooting of the final scenes in the Atlantic Ocean, actually a giant water tank. Winslet was 12 feet underwater, using an air regulator to breathe while weights prevented her from kicking her way up. The air regulator was tricky and she claims she swallowed quite a bit of water: "Looking back, I can't believe I allowed that to be done to me.... After three takes, I simply said I couldn't do any more."

In conclusion, Kate's words: "For the first time in my life on a film set I was thinking, 'I wish I wasn't here.' Some days I'd wake up and think, 'Please, God, let me die.'"

James' side:
In a new Playboy interview, Cameron all but calls Winslet a drama queen, saying she was never in danger: "We simply let Kate think she was nearly drowning. A little spluttering and coughing does not count in my book, because I have almost drowned several times and I know what it feels like."

He adds that Winslet's stress was self-induced: "Asking God to please let you die? I was thinking the same thing at about the same point (in the film)... Kate probably got some unnecessary stress from me, but I would say 99 per cent of her stress was internally induced as part of her acting process."

Who to believe?
Sorry, James, but we're not letting you off the hook that easily: letting an actress think she's drowning is nearly as bad as actually hurting her. (When governments do it, they call it "waterboarding." Just sayin'.) And while Winslet has a reputation for being lovely and professional, Cameron has a reputation for being totally freakin' nuts, especially when it comes to his leading ladies. So we're buying Kate's version on this one.

And for the sake of Zoe Saldana, we hope there are no water scenes in Avatar.

Who do you believe -- Kate or James? Chime in below!

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