The filmmakers also took the same painstaking efforts to ensure its population of actors' dress and mannerisms were just as true to the period as their environment. Housed in a building as large as a football field, the skilled international team of wardrobe, hair and makeup artists dressed as many as 1,000 extras in scenes that surround the principal cast.
As the century turned to a new age, the strict morality of the Victorian era was not easily dismantled. The world was heading forth into the Edwardian period, and a new generation felt trapped between the customs of the past and the liberation of progress.
"This was an era of great formality," Costume Designer Deborah L. Scott says. "People of wealth changed their wardrobe four and five times a day. Their clothes were so elaborate that personal maids and valets were absolutely necessary. The clothes were incredibly beautiful and detailed. Although they still wore corsets, the robust Victorian look was out; the new silhouette was lean and more youthful."
Scott engaged in months of extensive research into the period where wardrobe, perhaps more than ever, reflected a person's stature and personality. She then led a multi-national team of beadmakers and seamstresses in an effort to create, acquire and restore thousands of wardrobe pieces -- gowns, suits, uniforms and millinery.
Key makeup artist Tina Earnshaw complemented the wardrobe of "Titanic's" first- class passengers with a period palette of color.
Earnshaw's role as makeup artist extended beyond representing the beauty of the period. It also had to include the effects of extreme cold on the passengers following Titanic's sinking. Her research led to consulting with hospitals and doctors about the effects of hypothermia, learning that tears freeze and wet hair breaks off in icicles as a result of the intense cold.
Key hair artist Simon Thompson poured over countless research materials in libraries and galleries of Paris and London. He would eventually purchase 450 wigs and hundreds of hair pieces for the large cast and company of extras. Thompson explains, "The enormous hats of the period sat on formal upswept hairdos with padded hairpieces. Hair was always up, never down -- except for breakfast or the boudoir. Rose shows her rebelliousness when she wears her hair flowing. The men were equally formal, clean-shaven, very pomaded. It was a period of ultimate grooming. In fact, the Titanic had a barber shop and a Turkish bath."
In his research, Thompson also found an exquisite tortoise hair comb, which would later play a significant part in "Titanic" by prompting Rose Calvert's vivid recollections of the past. Thompson says he photocopied the piece and sent the copy to a jeweler specializing in historical pieces to replicate. In the film, Lovett's salvagers recover the comb, which belonged to Rose.
With the "look" in place, the filmmakers next sought to train the actors in the ways of the period. As proper etiquette was the hallmark of Edwardian society the actors had to alter their own contemporary behaviors to coordinate with the period of their shipboard environs.
Dialect coach Susan Hegarty worked closely with the actors to achieve the truest representation of the period's Anglo and American high society and coached other cast members, even native speakers, who were playing emigrants. The British-born Winslet took her research one step further to fully define the role of Rose, immersing herself in the history of the Philadelphia upper-class at the turn of the century.
"There was so much I had to learn about Philadelphia lifestyle," Winslet says. "I could do an American accent, but Philadelphia is so specific. It's almost at times very English, and my fear about playing it really correctly was that people would think my English accent was slipping in. I voiced my fears to Susan (Hegarty), and we would just go through a lot of drilling, going over certain sounds. Lynne Hockney ensured the actors portrayed the manners and mores of period behavior with a high degree of accuracy.
"The Edwardian period produced hundreds of etiquette manuals," Hockney reveals. "Especially for the upper-class, it was a stifling time. From their clothes to their body language to their conversation, there were strict rules to follow." For Winslet, training with the London-based Hockney was one of the easier aspects of preparing for "Titanic." Prior to filming, they would meet to discuss the necessary etiquette points. As for her decidedly modern American co-star, it was quite a humorous change of pace, particularly during the dancing sequence when Jack takes Rose to the Steerage Public Room.
"It was interesting," DiCaprio says. "You have to accept it was a different time and they didn't have the same moves that are around now. It was a transition for me to get into it all. I actually joked around with my friends. I told them I did a little dancing in the movie. So I went to my room and made up a whole routine that wasn't really what we were doing and I sort of did a ballet. They just sat there in complete shock!"
While he studied the gentlemanly comportment of such minutiae as holding a fork, DiCaprio sought a more realistic compromise to edit out any contemporary mannerisms and still remain in the period.
"I worked with the etiquette coach and halfway into it," he says, "I realized that in order to make Jack the character he is, he sort of needs to ignore such things. I'm supposed to stick out like a sore thumb in these environments. It was also very difficult to keep in mind the way things were said back then as we were improvising. Communication between men and women was different then. Jack disregards all that, and that's why Rose is interested in him."
Further rounding out Jack's character as a free-spirited artist of the period is his drawing style, displayed in the sketch of Rose that he completes the night Titanic sinks and which is later recovered as part of the salvage effort. As Cameron explains, "When the art department was unable to locate an artist who could complete the sketch as I envisioned, I decided to draw it myself from photographs of Kate." Cameron also did the additional drawings that appear in Jack's sketch book.