Titanic’s Original Ending Saw The Villain Become A Murderer

Titanic's fun-loving Fabrizio was originally meant to be murdered by Billy Zane's Cal.

By Britta DeVore | Updated

james cameron titanic

There were a lot of moving parts and well-developed characters and storylines in James Cameron’s 1997 disaster romance Titanic. Of course, we had Kate Winslet’s Rose DeWitt Bukater and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack Dawson (of the Chippewa Falls Dawsons) along with an ensemble cast that included the likes of Frances Fisher, Kathy Bates, David Warner, Bill Paxton, Billy Zane, and Danny Nucci. While many of these characters wouldn’t make it off the doomed boat (or rather out of the water), the tragic death of Nucci’s fun-loving Fabrizio was an especially difficult one, with the actor previously revealing to Cosmopolitan that his original death was even more soul-crushing, as Zane’s Cal Hockley was to ruthlessly murder him.

The reveal shouldn’t exactly make you clutch your pearls, as Cal was already a terrible guy with a laundry list of questionable morals and toxic traits. According to Nucci, the original scene saw his character dodge the fatal blow of one of the Titanic’s tumbling smokestacks and swim all the way to a lifeboat for safety. It was there that he would meet his doom as he begs and pleads to be hoisted aboard the lifeboat saying that he has “to get to America” before Cal retrieves an oar, knocks him over the head, and says, “It’s that way!”

Again, we’re sure your minds aren’t blown that Zane’s character would act in such a way, as he did a slew of horrendous things in the movie that included shoving other desperate passengers out of the way of lifeboats and – oh yeah – faking that he had a child to claim his own seat. As Nucci recalls, the team had already wrapped filming when he received the phone call from director James Cameron that he was planning to change how Fabrizio met his end in Titanic. Calling the actor up, Cameron told him that he’s “‘gotta change’” his death scene, informing Nucci that instead of swimming out of harm’s way, he would meet his demise with the toppling smokestack. 

danny nucci titanic

No death in Titanic came without a tear shed and the same can absolutely be said for the devastating fate of Nucci’s Fabrizio who, through a twist of fate that would ultimately be bad luck, boarded the famed ship of dreams. After winning a card game with Jack, Fabrizio can’t wait to get to America and begin his new life, making his death all the more upsetting. And when you throw in the fact that his best friend almost immediately strikes up a romance with a rich broad on board and ditches him for the rest of what would end up being the last days of his life, we can’t help but feel even worse for Fabrizio.

Justice for Fabrizio!

With Titanic sailing back into theaters to celebrate its 25th anniversary, now’s the time to catch all the action again – and this time in 3D! That’s right, you can actually feel the panic of having a smokestack fall onto your face in the possibly too-up-close-and-personal re-release of the timeless film. We’ll let you decide if death by smokestack is a worse fate than being hit over the head with an oar by a sadistic rich dude who then delivers a cheesy one-liner.