According to director James Cameron, Leonardo DiCaprio’s audition for Titanic was going well before it even started. Cameron is known for his larger-than-life, action-filled films, and Titanic is among his most iconic works, the list of which includes The Terminator, Aliens, and Avatar. His sequel Avatar: The Way of Water will premiere in theaters December 16, while a third film (out of the five he has outlined) is already close to completion.

Cameron details DiCaprio’s audition to GQ, and notes how he knew DiCaprio was bound to snag his Titanic role. While waiting for the actor to arrive to their meeting, the director looked around and noticed that virtually every woman working in their office was in the room - even their accountant. Read his full account of the audition below:

DiCaprio's Heartthrob Status Was Crucial To Titanic's Massive Success

Titanic is widely lauded as one of the greatest films of the century, with its fact-based events, groundbreaking visual effects, and full-bodied story praised by critics and audiences alike. Despite being the most expensive movie ever at the time, it significantly surpassed its $200 million budget at the box office and became the first film to gross over $1 billion. In addition, Titanic earned 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Cameron. While many elements contributed to its success, it’s undeniable that DiCaprio played a crucial role.

It’s hard to imagine anyone else as one-half of the star-crossed lovers, his counterpart being Kate Winslet's Rose DeWitt Dukater. DiCaprio’s portrayal — aided by his inherent charisma and good looks — won over viewers, who fell for his character’s boyish charm, romantic nature, and ultimate selflessness. To this day, viewers still cry out at the unfairness of his sacrifice, claiming that there was enough room on the wooden debris for both Jack and Rose. Titanic sent DiCaprio from teen hearthrob, status won in movies like Romeo + Juliet, to bona fide movie star.

Though 25 years have passed since Titanic’s initial release, DiCaprio still has hefty staying power in Hollywood. Christian Bale recently thanked the actor for turning down roles that he was then able to audition for and eventually land, noting that virtually all actors of their age had their parts offered to DiCaprio first. Known for establishing long-running relationships with prominent filmmakers, DiCaprio has worked alongside directors like Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, and Baz Luhrmann. Another collaboration with Cameron is overdue, and would certainly be welcomed as a pleasant surprise.