Mexican musical teen series Rebelde is getting rebooted on Netflix, ’90s teenage series Saved by the Bell also got remade for today’s viewers, and we even got a remake of the iconic musical West Side Story. However, when it was announced that The Bodyguard was getting remade we couldn’t help but feel wary considering the iconic role played Whitney Houston in the beloved 1992 film. But now it seems they’re truly reimagining the film versus plugging in modern-day actors to play the same roles. Tony Award-winning playwright Matthew López, who identifies as Latiné, is writing the script for Warner Bros. and told Variety that it’s “so fun” working on the remake. “When Warner Bros. approached me about the idea, I quickly said I would but I wanted the protagonist to be Latina. They agreed to that.”
The playwright became the first Latiné to win the Tony for best play for The Inheritance, considered the most honored American play in a generation. He shared that he’s faced “a lot of speculation” regarding the plot of the remake including that there would be “a gay storyline to it” perhaps considering the gay storyline of his play and that López is also openly gay. However, he’s more focused on telling a story that reflects what being famous looks like today, especially considering the stalker elements in the original film that predated social media.
“Instead of focusing on an established star like the one Whitney Houston played, this is about a young Latina performer who has just become famous,” López explained. “It’s about how her life has changed because she is an overnight sensation. In the 21st century, that means she’s in immediate need of protection.”
The role remains arguably Whitney’s most famous along with the soundtrack which became the best-selling soundtrack album of all time with sales of 45 million copies worldwide featuring her signature track, “I Will Always Love You”. The film was a fictionalized version of Whitney’s own life in all its grandeur and now it seems like this update will be more of a truly modern-day exploration of fame in the time of social media.
López, who was born in Florida to a Puerto Rican father, is dedicated to amplifying Latinx stories and voices in an industry where Latinx representation remains so limited. Latinx characters made up only 4.5 percent of the 47,268 total films released between 2007 through 2018, according to a survey from USC and NALIP. Only 3 percent of movies featured Latinx actors in lead roles from 2007 through 2018 in the 100 top-grossing films
There’s no word yet on casting for the film but Variety reported some of the celeb names being discussed include Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson and Channing Tatum and Cardi B. An Afro-Latina taking on this iconic role would be the kind of progress we want to see and we suggest Julio Macias from On My Block who plays the tough guy so well to possibly portray the role originally played by Kevin Costner. We’ll have to stay tuned for updates and word on the release date but we’re definitely excited to see this iteration come to life with a Latina front and center.