The black and white shot was taken from one of the romantic thriller's most memorable scenes, when Costner's Frank Farmer scoops up Whitey's superstar Rachel Marron in his arms and carries her out of a nightclub after a fracas breaks out at one of her shows.
And Costner claimed it was he himself who selected the pic for the poster.
"I picked that picture out because my friend Ben Glass took it... I sent it to Warner Brothers and I go, 'There's the poster.' Because it was so evocative. It wasn't special photography; it wasn't anything," he said.
But of course he faced resistance, because the face of one of the film's leads was completely obscured — practically unheard of in promotional material. The studio even tried to Photoshop Whitney's head on, twisted around.
"They didn't like it at first because you couldn't see Whitney's face," Costner explained. "And so they sent me like five mock-ups where they put her head [on it] where she's looking [out]."
"I said 'Guys, I think we had it the first time.' That it was really, and that ended up being the poster."
While he took credit for the image, the electric chemistry between the two stars he attributes to Lawrence Kasdan's screenplay.
"[It was a] very funny, acidic kind of relationship that was unique. His own rhythm of language that I knew would create [sparks]." he said. "It just caught [Whitney] at a really high moment or actually created a high moment for her. The words provide the chemistry in a way."
Whitney actually had three doubles for the film: her body double Debra Hubbard, her stunt double Joyce Larkin, and her dance double Darlene Dillinger. Costner never specified which was anonymously immortalized on the iconic poster.