As romantic posters go, it’s hard to get more steamy and engaging than the one for The Bodyguard.
The poster for the 1992 film starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston features Costner’s titular bodyguard carrying Houston’s pop star Rachel Marron out of a nightclub after a riot breaks out at one of her shows. There’s only one catch — that’s not really Houston in the shot.
“That wasn’t even Whitney actually,” Costner tells EW. “She had gone home and that was her double, and her head was buried into my shoulder, which was appropriate anyway. She was frightened.”
The shot came from a day of shooting the memorable scene, but Costner says he knew instantly it would make the perfect poster. “I picked that picture out because my friend Ben Glass took it…I sent it to Warner Brothers and I go, ‘There’s the poster.’ Because it was so evocative. It wasn’t special photography; it wasn’t anything,” he says.
But it wasn’t as easy as that — the executives didn’t like that you couldn’t see Houston’s face since she was a huge pop star at the time and therefore a big draw for audiences. “They didn’t like it at first because you couldn’t see Whitney’s face,” he explains. “And so they sent me like five mockups where they put her head [on it] where she’s looking [out]. I said ‘Guys, I think we had it the first time.’ That it was really, and that ended up being the poster.”
Costner and Houston created legendary screen chemistry in the film, so potent that Costner even went on to speak at Houston’s funeral in 2012. However, he credits their onscreen spark to Lawrence Kasdan’s screenplay. “[It was a] very funny, acidic kind of relationship that was unique. His own rhythm of language that I knew would create [sparks],” he reflects. “It just caught [Whitney] at a really high moment or actually created a high moment for her. The words provide the chemistry in a way.”
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