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Harrowing Titanic movie BTS footage shows how they made frozen corpses

Harrowing Titanic movie BTS footage shows how they made frozen corpses

They didn't just ask a bunch of extras to take one for the team and get frozen for real

Behind the scenes footage showing the making of Titanic reveals how they managed to make it look as though people who had gone overboard were freezing in the water.

You've probably seen the movie by now, but if not it's about the harrowing real life story of the Titanic which struck an iceberg that gets interrupted by an 'uptown girl meets backstreet guy' romance story.

Of course, since the main thing people know about Titanic is that the ship sinks in the end, the crew on James Cameron's movie had to recreate the catastrophe to bring it to the big screen.

To do that, they had to make it look as though a whole load of people had frozen to death in the water, with the movie's climax taking place after Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) fall into the sea.

Ultimately, Rose is able to get onto a bit of wooden debris and Jack cannot (which by the way is really far more of a matter of buoyancy than space) before she gets rescued from among the floating, frozen corpses.

Movie magic turned very alive extras into the visage of frozen corpses.
Paramount Pictures

However, to get these floating bodies looking just right for the camera, a lot of work went into making the extras look convincing, especially as the harrowing images of the frozen bodies get a few close ups.

Obviously they weren't just going to dunk a load of extras into the freezing sea and let nature take its course, so some top notch work from the makeup department was required.

Behind the scenes footage has shown exactly how Titanic made so many people look as though they had frozen to death in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Extras had wax added to their hair to make it look as though there was ice growing on it, before having their faces covered in spirit gum and gelatin crystals to simulate frozen faces.

According to Titanic extra, Ellen Mower, the crystals expanded when they got wet or had mist sprayed on them, creating the striking look we saw in the movie.

Titanic extra Ellen Mower once the makeup department had finished turning her into a frozen corpse.
Paramount Pictures

It's one of many examples of how the movie magic of good makeup and practical effects can raise something to even higher levels.

While CGI has its place, there really is no substitute for the real thing when it comes to convincing the human eye it's watching something good.

Titanic fans also could have seen more of the aftermath of Rose's narrow escape from freezing to death in the sea if not for a deleted scene which would have shown the traumatised survivors boarding the rescue ship Carpathia.

Featured Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Topics: TV and Film, Titanic