The Young And The Restless star Eric Braeden was this week’s special guest on Maurice Benard’s State Of Mind podcast on mental health. The pair reflect on the wealth of credits Braeden has achieved throughout his acting career but one that may surprise devoted fans was his appearance in Titanic.
Braeden is known for his timeless role as Victor Newman in the daytime soap drama and has more than 60 years of experience in the industry. He sat down with Maurice to reflect on his life, from growing up in war-torn Germany and seeing girls to his time on Y&R.
This is a must-see State Of Mind episode but if you want to know one of the most interesting stories from the podcast, read on.
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Eric Braeden talks Titanic on State Of Mind
***WARNING: State Of Mind spoilers ahead***
The podcast began by deep diving into Braeden’s past. His father died when he was 12 and he was left to grow up with his three brothers in post-Second World War Germany. The actor recalled the two things that rescued him in desperate times: “We had no hot running water, no central heating (but) the thing that saved me was girls and sports.”
Regarding his appearance in Titanic, the actor almost missed out due to run-ins with a casting director. Even after securing the role, Braeden was apprehensive about working with James Cameron but shortly after landing the role of John Jacob Astor he met the director.
He said: “I talked to the producers. Very nice. Suddenly, behind me, he taps me on the shoulder and says, ‘I’m James Cameron. I am so happy you are here. I loved you in da da da…’
“He took the p*** out of me. I thought, ‘Very nice’ then changed my mind. He couldn’t have been nicer. I have such respect for the man. He’s a brilliant director.”
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Y&R’s Eric Braeden recalls terrifying Titanic scene
However, what stood out to Braeden in the movie was a scene towards the end of filming that left him “scared s***less!” An assistant director was discussing Astor’s death scene and said: “It’s up to you. We can use a stunt guy but James would like to use you, walking up the stairs and turning at a certain time when the water comes from the ceiling.”
Braeden agreed to the scene but was keen to do dry runs. “I said, ‘I will do it if you have about four or five dry rehearsals.’ I have been in enough action films in my life and television shows to know how one has to rehearse it.” They did just that, but he couldn’t practise with the water. “That’s why when the real thing happened it was a nerve-wracking experience.”
Before the scene, he saw 12 cameramen with diving suits on and oxygen tanks and wondered what he had let himself in for. As water came from the sides of the room and 150 tonnes from the ceiling, it moved the furniture all over the place. The water started getting closer to the ceiling and the actor said he started to panic, calling it a “scary experience”.
After filming wrapped, he recalled giving his son, writer and director Christian Gudegast, who had encouraged him to do the film in the first place, a tour of the set. Cameron even allowed them to watch the first five minutes of the movie as Braeden recalls it giving him goosebumps, instantly knowing it would be a box office sell out. The 1997 film did just that, and it even won an Oscar for best picture.