Almost two decades after the release of the blockbuster film Titanic, a Florida man is suing director James Cameron for stealing his life story as the basis for the lead character Jack Dawson.
TMZ reports that Stephen Cummings, an ex-“yacht-master” from Brevard County, is seeking $300 million in damages plus 1% of royalties. Cummings’s lawsuit claims that Cameron learned about his life and events that happened to him during the late 1980’s via word of mouth, and that these stories became the basis of the character played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film.
According to the TMZ report, Cummings also claims in the lawsuit that the tragic love story depicted in the movie was based on stories he told friends about his own relatives who were passengers aboard the “unsinkable” ship. Just like the fictional characters Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater (portrayed by Kate Winslet), in Cummings’s story the woman survived and the man drowned.
But, since women and children were given priority access to the limited amount of lifeboats on the ill-fated sea liner, which sank on April 15, 1912, there are presumably many similar stories. In total, 1517 people died in the RMS Titanic sinking.
The movie Titanic won ten Academy Awards in 1998, including Best Picture and Best Director for Cameron. It is one of the highest grossing films of all time at $2.2 Billion worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo, second only to another James Cameron film, Avatar.
This is not the first time that a conspiracy theory has touched Titanic. Earlier this year in an interview with the Daily Beast, Cameron refuted the idea floated in a 5-year-old Mythbusters episode that there was room on the raft for both Rose and Jack.
LawNewz reports that Stephen Cummings is representing himself in the lawsuit.