'Titanic' director James Cameron reveals why Jack 'had to die'

After all these years, “Titanic” fans finally know why Rose had to let go.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, James Cameron answered the question fans have been asking for years — why didn’t Rose let Jack on the wooden plank, clearly big and stable enough to hold two people? The director said the decision to let Leonardo DiCaprio’s character die was “very simple.”

“And the answer is very simple because it says on page 147 [of the script] that Jack dies,” Cameron joked to Vanity Fair.

But to really answer the question plaguing fans since the movie’s release 20 years ago, Cameron said it was an “artistic choice” and that if Jack didn’t die the film would have been “meaningless.”

Jack, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and Rose, played by Kate Winslet, in "Titanic."

Jack, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and Rose, played by Kate Winslet, in "Titanic." (21st Century Fox)

“Obviously it was an artistic choice, the thing was just big enough to hold her, and not big enough to hold him,” Cameron said, adding that he thought it was “silly” they were still having that discussion.

“But it does show that the film was effective in making Jack so endearing to the audience that it hurts them to see him die. Had he lived, the ending of the film would have been meaningless,” he added. “The film is about death and separation; he had to die. So whether it was that, or whether a smoke stack fell on him, he was going down.”

Cameron said, “It’s called art, things happen for artistic reasons, not for physics reasons.”

He also said Jack “was dead anyway” even with Rose on the wooden door.

“Titanic” will return to theaters on Dec. 1 for its 20th anniversary since making its debut with Kate Winslet and DiCaprio.