Cale Clarke’s Titanic Failure

Did you know that before Cale was a radio host, he once tried his hand at acting? On a recent episode of The Cale Clarke Show, Cale told a story of the time he was an extra on the set of the third highest-grossing movie of all time. Curious? We thought so.

Back in 1996, Cale was a young man living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He received a call from a talent scout who told him that James Cameron would be filming a movie in Nova Scotia about the Titanic disaster. (While the majority of the film was Mexico, the modern-day scenes were filmed in Canada.)

“By the time James Cameron got to Halifax, by the time this got going, they were planning on spending 10 days making the movie there—the part that takes place in the modern day—and then get out of there, get out of dodge. And they wound up staying in Halifax, because everything got thrown behind schedule and way over-budget, they stayed there for over three months. Nobody knew at the time that this movie was going to be a big hit,” Cale reminisced.

So where does Cale’s part come in? The film crew was looking for extras to play the part of Russian sailors on the ship that searches for the Titanic wreck. When the talent scout called and said they were casting that day, Cale got down to the set and stood in a huge line of young men. “Well I waited hours to get to the front of the line and when I finally stood before the producers they took one look at me and said, ‘You don’t look Russian. Get outta here!’”

Undeterred by their rejection, Cale went back the next day and stood in line again. “I said, I’m going to do it again. I’m going to show up again, I’m going to put on a different shirt and I’m going to try to look Russian somehow. And when I got to the front of the line this time, the same guy—the same exact guy—was there. And he said, ‘Oh perfect, you look Russian! … You’re in!’”

He soon learned that working on the movie set was long and somewhat boring. Cameron was a very demanding director, looking for perfection on every shot, so the crew went through hundreds of takes to get it just right.

Standing on the deck of the boat, Cale thought his dreams were coming true. “This camera … comes whizzing by me and I saw the red light was on on the camera. And I was like, I’m sure I was in that shot—I’m sure,” Cale said.

Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out the way he had planned. “I am very very sorry to tell you that all of my dreams sank to the bottom—if you’ll pardon the pun—of the cutting room floor. All my scenes as a Russian sailor extra were cut. But some of my buddies, they got in the movie!”

Listen to the full story here:

Tune in to The Cale Clarke Show weekdays at 5-6pm CT only on Relevant Radio®.

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.