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Bodyguard musical star Heather Headley: It’s tough being compared to Whitney

Movies Blog
4 December 2012

Broadway actress Heather Headley, who stars in a new musical version of 'The Bodyguard', has said that it's tough being compared to Whitney Houston.

In an exclusive interview with Yahoo! Movies, the actress said that she sees herself as one of Whitney's students and hopes to bring her own 'truth' to the role made famous by the late singer.

"It's tough. Whitney had one of the greatest voices we'll ever be blessed to hear and now that voice is on a different level - it's achieved sainthood and you can't compare with it. My aim has never been to try to compare with Whitney or compete; it was just to try to sing it my own way and to bring that truth to the role of Rachel.

"My question to myself has always been 'How would Rachel sing this song?' So yes, there may be comparisons [with Whitney] but I hope that people will look beyond that."

The Tony-award-winning actress, who starred in 'The Lion King' and 'Aida' on Broadway, also revealed that she had doubts about taking the lead role after Whitney Houston's death earlier this year.

"I always said that if the contract came to me after that I wasn't sure I would sign it. All of a sudden Whitney passes and it becomes a tribute to a legacy and people come in to hear the music. With all due respect, this is not a tribute show, it's a musical in its own right but now you have a feeling that you really want to make sure this is right because we're now honouring a body of work that somebody has done.

"I think she would be very happy with it."

Watch edited highlights of our interview with the stars of 'The Bodyguard'...

The musical version of 'The Bodyguard' features an additional nine Whitney Houston songs that aren't in the original movie and, most surprisingly, sees the bodyguard himself - Frank Farmer - taking centre-stage for one very surprising rendition (that we won't spoil by going into too much detail about here).

British actor Lloyd Owen, who plays Farmer, told us this was despite original 'Bodyguard' screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan insisting that the male lead didn't sing in the new stage production:
"When Lawrence Kasdan gave permission to make the musical seven years ago it was on the sole condition that Frank Farmer doesn't sing and the writer [of the musical] Alexander Dinelaris got around that in a rather brilliant way. So there is a moment or two where I have to try and compete with Headley and I give it my best shot!"

The 1992 movie version of 'The Bodyguard' raked in more than $400 million at the box office worldwide. The soundtrack album became one of the biggest-selling albums of all time with sales of more than 45 million copies.

'The Bodyguard' is previewing at the Adelphi Theatre, London WC2 and opens on 5 December 5. Tickets can be booked online at www.thebodyguardmusical.com or by phone on 0844 5790094.

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