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Kevin Costner reflects on making ‘The Bodyguard’ with Whitney Houston

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Kevin Costner was a defender for Whitney Houston both on and off screen.

Costner, who co-starred with Houston in the 1992 romantic thriller “The Bodyguard,” reflected on his experiences working with the pop icon during an interview on the “Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard” podcast released Monday.

The “Yellowstone” actor played bodyguard Frank Farmer, who was entrusted with the protection of R&B singer Rachel Marron, played by Houston. Costner, who also served as the film’s producer, said he began working closely with Houston on her performance after he felt director Mick Jackson was “scared” of her.

“I started guiding her. And I wasn’t trying to usurp my director, but I made a promise to her,” Costner said. “I promised Whitney she would be good in (the movie). … I would always keep my promise to her.”

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Released in November 1992, “The Bodyguard” grossed $121.9 million at the worldwide box office, while the Houston-led soundtrack sold 18 million copies. The film earned two Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song (“I Have Nothing” and “Run to You”).

Costner also discussed building trust with Houston during the film’s production, including creating a safe environment for the pop star on set.

“I said, ‘Look, you can’t have a consequence, but I’m going to take care of you if there’s someone important to you’ — it turned out to be (assistant) Robyn Crawford,” Costner reflected. “I said, ‘Let’s have Robyn with you.’ But I said, ‘I don’t have one. You won’t get that.’ And so we started. And I knew that if she left me, things would never be the same for her.

Costner added that he became Houston’s “imaginary bodyguard” due to the public perception of their characters’ relationship. “We had a moment and I realized that the world had a higher idea of ​​who we were, so I basically embraced that,” he said.

Kevin Costner reflects on delivering the eulogy at Whitney Houston’s funeral

Costner also reflected on giving a eulogy for Houston at her funeral, 20 years after their appearance in “The Bodyguard.”

Houston died at the age of 48 in February 2012 after the singer was found dead in a hotel bathtub in Beverly Hills, California, just hours before music stars began gathering at the hotel for Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party. She died of an accidental drowning caused by heart disease and long-term cocaine abuse, the Los Angeles coroner reported weeks later.

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Although he was initially reluctant to speak at the memorial in Houston, Costner said he took the time to honor his former co-star with his remarks during the ceremony, which lasted almost 20 minutes in total.

“There were a few people who really wanted to say something, and they were kind of staring at me. What did I want to say?” Costner said. “I started and about 17 minutes later I was done.”

Contributing: Maria Puente, USA TODAY