Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making Of “The Bodyguard”
I was relatively young when The Bodyguard came out. But I know the movie well because my mom and her friends were always watching and talking about it. It was a hit with all types of audiences, and particularly black women. So chances are you’ve seen it again and again but we bet you don’t know these behind the scenes secrets. Check them out.
Diana Ross was supposed to be Rachel Marron
This movie was a long time in the making. It was originally proposed in the mid ’70’s and it was too star Diana Ross and Steve McQueen. But that fell through because they thought the interracial relationship would be too controversial. There’s also this rumor that McQueen didn’t want to be billed secon to Ross. So they shelved it until the late seventies. At that time they still wanted Diana Ross for the role, along with her boyfriend at the time, Ryan Neal. But challenges in their own relationship, stopped them from moving forward.
How Whitney got the role
But then when the movie fell into Kevin Costner’s lap, he immediately knew that he wanted Whitney Houston for the lead. He said in an 1992 interview that “I liked her essence. I liked her elegance. When she stands up…I think if you remember the first time you ever see Whitney, maybe you can’t isolate where you first saw her, but some people have this thing that comes along every ten years. When she stands up and sings, she occupies a place that I think Streisand occupies, Diana Ross did. There’s fabulous singers that come and go throughout the ages and will but sometimes when one stands up and you look, there’s an elegance that’s right there. And that was very appealing to me.”
And even though he felt convinced that she was the one, Whitney wasn’t so sure at first. She spent a lot of time deciding if she was going to take the role or not. She, being famous already, had a busy schedule but Costner wanted Whitney so much for the role, he waited for her for a year while she made her mind up. Whitney eventually decided to take the role because she realized Rachel was her own woman, who didn’t answer to anyone. She liked that this was a woman in control and she didn’t know when the opportunity for a woman, and particularly a black woman, to play this role again.
Who else was considered?
There were several big named women who were considered for the lead role, including women like Madonna, Olivia Newton-John, Dolly Parton, Pat Benatar and Janet Jackson
And while Whitney recognized that this was a great role, this was her first time on screen and she was apprehensive. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Whitney says that people were going to see her name attached to the project and decide not to support it simply because she had no acting experience. She said, “You know what I was concerned about? That people would dog me before they gave me the opportunity to do the job. Making the transition from a singer to an actress made me apprehensive. Like “Can I really do this?”
But she was interested in acting though. After her second album, Whitney said she thought ‘One day, I’ll do a movie.’ But she didn’t imagine it would be something of this caliber.
“I wanted to do some acting, but I mean, I never thought I’d be costarring with Kevin Costner! I thought, “I’ll just get this little part somewhere, and I’ll work my way up.” And all of a sudden I get this script, and I said: “I don’t know. This is kind of . . . big.” So I was scared. It took me two years to decide to do it. I kind of waited too long for Kevin. I think it got on his nerves. He called one day and said, “Listen, are you going to do this movie with me or not?” I told him about my fears. I said: “I’m afraid. I don’t want to go out there and fall.” And he said: “I promise you I will not let you fall. I will help you.” And he did.”
Audiences didn’t like it.
The Bodyguard, as you know, would become a fan favorite. But that wasn’t always the case. When test audiences first saw an early cut of the movie, they weren’t feeling it at all. And instead of recasting and reshooting, producers made some cuts that made it more appealing to audiences, though critics eventually gave it mixed reviews.
The Interracial Relationship
Some critics felt there was no chemistry between Houston and Costner. One writer said watching them was like waiting for two statues to mate. But that didn’t keep fans from appreciating it and finding that Houston and Costner had great chemistry on screen. Audiences loved them together. But inevitably, there were questions about the presence of an interracial couple. Costner said, after Whitney passed, in an interview with Yahoo movies that though there were concerns from producers, he was sure that audiences would get the general love story.
He said, “This is not race. This was about good, old-fashioned chemistry. … I kissed her once for everybody in America, and I kissed her once for myself.”
Whitney echoed his sentiments, saying it just didn’t matter.
Deleted Love Scenes
And since the two had such great chemistry, it’s not hard to assume they would have had love scenes in the film. But there were more than just the ones you see in the final cut. But Whitney said if those scenes had been used, she would have been ok with them because she felt they were tastefully done as well.
The same year the film came out, 1992, Whitney and Bobby got married. She said in one interview, even before they got married they were trying to have children. Sadly, during the shooting of the movie Whitney suffered a miscarriage and she took a break from shooting for a few weeks. Fortunately, the couple got pregnant shortly after and Bobbi Kristina was born in 1993.
The Horse Head
If you’ve seen The Godfather you can’t forget that iconic horse head in the bed scene. Surprisingly there’s a connection between the two movies. The mansion that Rachel Marron lives in the 1992 movie, is the same mansion used in 1972’s The Godfather.
Art imitating life
Unfortunately, Whitney Houston could relate to her character a little too well. In an interview in 1992, she said that her life had also been threatened.
“That’s something that you have bodyguards to take care of. You try not to become involved in that because it can prevent you from doing what you do best. If you told me that somebody just sent me a letter ‘Whitney, they’re going to kill you before you step out on that stage, I’d have to think a couple of times about that and say ‘Whitney do you really want to do this show.’ I’ve had that happen to me. I’ve had someone write me a letter, somehow it got to me. It said that they were going to kill me in the last couple seconds of my show. And they weren’t going to miss. To me, I don’t know. If you want me, you’re gonna get me. If you want to kill me, you’re gonna kill me. You don’t have to threaten me to tell me you’re going to kill me. If somebody wants you they’re going to get you. They might not get you but they’re going to come after you. Nobody’s going to tell you I’m going to kill you, they’re going to kill you. You have bodyguards who are able to sense that. It’s something that it’s not really my job to do that.”
Though Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner may not look like they have a lot in common, they shared roots in the church and Costner also sings. He’s more into country music though. And as a country fan, he was familiar with Dolly Parton’s catalog. Surprisingly, he was the one who suggested Whitney sing “I Will Always Love You.” And even though it wasn’t her song originally, there was no beef between Whitney and Dolly. Whitney said Parton was tickled that she sang the song so well, putting her extra “stuff” on it and making it more popular than it ever was with her. The soundtrack would become the best selling movie soundtrack of all time, with 45 million copies sold. “Run to You” and “I Have Nothing” were both nominated for Oscars for Best Original Song.
And the movie didn’t do too bad either. The Bodyguard was the second highest grossing film that year, earning $411 million worldwide. Proving once again that there’s a huge difference between the critics and the people.
In 2011, Warner Bros announced that they planned to remake the film to reflect the ways in which our world has changed since the advent of social media sites as well as resources like Google Maps, making it easier to access celebrities for good and evil. The remake, though we haven’t heard about it in a while, was supposed to be written by Jeremiah Friedman. Initially, Rihanna was considered for the role but that was before she said absolutely not, saying she plays the singer Rihanna everyday. Personally, I’m glad to hear that. Do you think they should remake the film? If so, who should star as Rachel and who should be Frank?