Whitney Houston was said to be “dwindling in terms of her popularity” when her name came up as a possible co-star/romantic partner for Kevin Costner in The bodyguardthe hit drama opened 30 years ago today, on November 25, 1992.
“It wasn’t her ‘in’ moment,” Costner told Yahoo Entertainment of the late pop icon during a 2014 Recall role interview (view excerpt above). “That didn’t really matter to me. I just thought she was the perfect choice.
The Oscar-winning actor and filmmaker also revealed that race was a factor that kept parties involved from casting the pop star in the role of Rachel Marron, a music superstar who becomes romantically involved with her bodyguard (Costner’s Frank Farmer) while being threatened by a stalker.
“Everyone warned me that she was black, which I knew,” he said.
“It might have been easier at her peak two years earlier. But after that movie, she became, I think, one of the biggest stars in the world.”
Indeed, Houston, who battled substance abuse later in her career and passed away in 2012, was two years after the release of her third straight hit, 1990’s I’m your baby tonight. She had also never acted in a movie before. Costner may have been at the peak of his career, just dominating the Oscars with Dancing with wolves.
“I just think people are trying to cast [who] they think he’s the best person, and sometimes the feeling was, “Well, let’s cast a real actress, that could be the best one for the movie,” said Costner, whose string of hits at the time Taurus Durham (1988) and Field of dreams (1989). “It’s like pretending to be a good baseball player. Seeing one of our world-class actresses pretend to be a great singer doesn’t seem right.
“So I really felt we had to go for a real singer. It didn’t matter if she was black or white. The fact that she was black didn’t matter to me.”
Costner is currently starring in Paramount Network’s hit Western Yellowstone.
Houston is getting the Hollywood biopic treatment next month with the release of I want to dance with someonestarring Naomi Ackie.
View our full Recall role interview with Kevin Costner: