‘The Bodyguard’ at 30: Kevin Costner says there were warnings against casting Whitney Houston because she was Black
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Whitney Houston is said to have "declined in terms of popularity" when her name popped up as a possible co-star/romantic partner for Kevin Costner on The Bodyguard, the hit drama which opened 30 years ago today, November 25th. 1992
"That wasn't her 'in' moment," Costner told Yahoo Entertainment of the late pop icon during a 2014 role recall interview (see clip above). "It didn't really matter to me. I just thought they were the perfect choice."
The Oscar-winning 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 he is threatened a stalker.
"Everyone pointed out to me that she was black, which I knew," he said.
“Two years earlier, at their peak, it might have been easier. But after that film, I think she became one of the biggest stars in the world.”
In fact, Houston, who later in her career battled substance abuse and died in 2012, had passed two years after the release of her third straight 1990s hit, I'm Your Baby Tonight. She had also never acted in a film before. Costner was arguably at the peak of his career, having just dominated the Oscars with Dances With Wolves.
"I just think people are trying to cast [who] they think is the best person, and at times it was like, 'Well, let's cast a real actress, that might be the best thing for the movie,'" he said Costner, whose string hits of the time included Bull Durham (1988) and Field of Dreams (1989). "It's like pretending to be a good baseball player. When you see one of our world-class actresses pretending to be a great singer, it doesn't seem right.
"So I really felt like we should go with a real singer. It didn't matter if she was black or white. I didn't care that she was black."
Costner is currently starring in Paramount Network's hit song Western Yellowstone.
Houston will get the Hollywood biopic treatment next month with the release of I Wanna Dance With Somebody, starring Naomi Ackie.
Watch our full Role Recall interview with Kevin Costner:
American singer, actress and producer (1963–2012)
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