Wait, that isn't Whitney Houston in the iconic The Bodyguard poster?

The Bodyguard poster is among the most iconic in movie history, so much so that it's still used for memes and parodies today. But with the Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance with Somebody now showing at cinemas, people have been doing some digging and have uncovered a fun fact about the famous design for the 1992 film. 

It turns out the reason that Houston's actress and singer Rachel Marron is hiding her face in the poster isn't only because of the terror of the moment. In fact, the woman in the poster isn't actually Whitney Houston at all but a body double. Although that very nearly wasn't the case, as we'll explain if you keep reading. (Working on your own poster designs? Take a look at the best graphic design software).

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The Bodyguard was released an incredible 30 years ago, but it remains a classic to this day for its cast, soundtrack – and for its poster. The evocative design includes a grainy purple-toned image of bodyguard Kevin Costner carrying his charge through the rain. But that it isn't Whitney Houston in the image.

Costner revealed in an interview back in 2019 that Houston had already left the set when it came to shooting the photo, so a double was used. That's why her face is buried in Costner's shoulder, although, conveniently, the pose perfectly suited the scene.

“She had gone home and that was her double, and her head was buried into my shoulder, which was appropriate anyway. She was frightened," Costner told Entertainment Weekly. He said that he chose the photo for the poster himself after it was taken by Ben Glass, who Costner had previously worked with in Dances with Wolves and whose recent work includes the Lego Movie.

The Bodyguard poster, which doesn't feature Whitney Houston

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Initially, the producers weren't convinced, though. “They didn’t like it at first because you couldn’t see Whitney’s face,” Costner said. “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."

So the Bodyguard poster could have been very different, with Houston's head edited into the image. But we think they made the right decision, leaving the Photoshop work to the many people who have since edited the image to create parodies. We're very happy to see film posters that don't follow the trend of showing the face of every star in a movie – we can read the names and we know what the actors look like (usually). Sometimes a more evocative design can make much more of an impact.

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If you're looking for the right tools to develop your own designs, see the best current prices on Adobe's Creative Cloud software suite below. You might also want to see these sharp poster designs for inspiration.

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Joseph Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design, production and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.