PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Shortly before his death, actor Bill Paxton spoke to Yahoo! about the original ending of "Titanic," asserting he "would have shot heroin" to make the scene work.
Paxton, who died of complications from surgery at the age of 61, was a frequent favorite of "Titanic" director James Cameron, who cast him in the role of Brock Lovett in the 1997 Best Picture winner.
In an interview released Monday by Yahoo!, Paxton revealed that the original ending of "Titanic" involved his character learning that actress Gloria Stuart had the diamond for which he had been searching throughout the movie.
The scene, which was filmed but cut from the movie, has Paxton and actress Suzy Amis, who later married Cameron, run to another part of the ship, where they think Stuart is going to jump off. It's then revealed that she is holding the diamond.
"Don't come any closer," she tells Paxton in the deleted scene. "I'll drop it."
"You had it the entire time?" Paxton's Lovett asks.
Paxton said Stuart scolds him for not knowing what to value in life and then throws the diamond into the water.
"I'm supposed to have an epiphany where I kind of look up and I have this crazy laugh," Paxton told Yahoo! "I mean, I would have shot heroin to make the scene work better."
Paxton explained why the scene ended up on the cutting room floor.
"Jim, when he designed the film, he thought when you make a period movie, he said the first thing you have to address is, 'How does it speak to a contemporary audience? How do they connect to it?'" Paxton said. "You know, the love story is timeless, and they'll relate to that. But what he thought was, 'Let's set the table in a way so that we give them a contemporary context, and then we go back.'"
Paxton said the deleted scene wasn't ultimately necessary to the story.
"If you're smart and you take the ego and the narcissism out of it, you'll listen to the film, and the film will tell you what it needs and what it does not need," Paxton said.
Paxton was a frequent collaborator with Cameron, also appearing in "The Terminator," "Aliens" and "True Lies."