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Kevin Costner: Some people not happy I picked Whitney Houston for Bodyguard role

Kevin Costner has said some people disapproved of him choosing Whitney Houston to star opposite him in The Bodyguard because she was black.

The American actor and the late songstress played a bodyguard and a pop singer who fall in love in the 1992 romantic thriller, which grossed more than 400 million US dollars at the box office and has become a cult classic.

But Costner told Square Mile: "Some people weren't happy that I picked Whitney Houston to be my love interest in The Bodyguard.

"And that I kissed her; who wouldn't want to kiss her?"

Costner, 62, suspects those critics were equally opposed to him starring in new film Hidden Figures, which tells the true story of African-American women mathematicians who played a vital role in the early years of the US space programme.

"I don't think those people were happy that I would do Hidden Figures," he said.

The actor said prejudice was evident when he was a child growing up near Los Angeles and still exists today.

He said: "I said the N-word a thousand times as a child. That's how you talked.

"But there comes a moment when you choose how you are going to be yourself.

"All of a sudden, telepathically you knew that word wasn't funny; it fell flat like a coke that had no more bubbles in it, and it was gone, eliminated."

The Oscar-winning director said films such as Hidden Figures are still relevant in the new era of US president Donald Trump's America.

"Racism is alive and well in America," he said.

"It's unfortunate, but it's there, and all I can try to do is make my choices and educate my children."

:: Square Mile is released on February 14.

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