Costner on Houston's New Album: 'I Knew This Day Was Coming'

Kevin Costner recalls working with Whitney Houston in "The Bodyguard."

ByABC News via GMA logo
July 27, 2009, 12:15 PM

July 28, 2009— -- Whitney Houston, the beauty with the megawatt voice, and Kevin Costner, Hollywood's iconic superstar actor, made screen history in "The Bodyguard." 17 years later, Costner still remembers the decision to cast Houston in the film.

"I remember Whitney before she was in the movie," Costner said. "And I just looked at her and I said, 'Oh man, this girl really -- she just really has it.'"

Their on-screen chemistry and Costner's vision for how Houston's singing would thread the film together led to a movie that made an indelible mark and to the most successful film soundtrack of all time.

Costner calls Houston "a true beauty, and such a musical instrument."

"It wasn't really a mystery to me when Whitney ended up in 'The Bodyguard,'" he said, laughing. "I really wanted her. And there was a moment in time where it was -- could have maybe been somebody else. And I said, 'No, I want to wait. I want to wait for Whitney.'"

The film's screenwriter Larry Kasdan, producer Jim Wilson and studio Warner Brothers agreed.

"We postponed the movie for a year to wait for Whitney," Costner said. "That's the game you play a lot of times with movies. Could somebody else play that role? Of course, somebody could have. But, nobody better."

Houston's version of the Dolly Parton-penned song "I Will Always Love You," became the movie's iconic anthem, but Costner said it wasn't even supposed to be in the film. The song they planned to include, "What Becomes of a Broken Heart," appeared in another film that year.

"I didn't want to duplicate that," Costner said. "Dolly's song just was a song that I'd always really, really loved."

When there was concern that a country song performed a cappella wouldn't get enough radio support, Costner recalled saying, "I don't really care. … But I wouldn't be too sure about that."

The song choice wasn't the only long shot. There was also the question of how mainstream audiences would react to a mixed race romance.

"When Whitney was cast there was talk about, well, should we make mention of it, you know, in a scene," he said. "And all parties really looked at each other and we said, 'No ... let's not do that. This is a woman. This is not race."