50 Cent has reportedly stepped in to replace Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker as Hale Caesar in "The Expendables," Sly Stallone's action classic-in-the-making, which according to IMDB, concerns "a team of mercenaries [that] heads to South America on a mission to overthrow a dictator."
Ain't It Cool News reported that a month-long shooting delay forced Whitaker to walk away due to other, prior commitments. But Stallone promises the switch will turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
The writer-director himself wrote AICN to say "the anger of the casting of 50 Cent is understandable, but not fair. A player is only as good as his coach. If a man can communicate in one medium, he can communicate in another if his strengths are brought out and he has the support of well-wishers. So, trust me, the change of Forest Whitaker to 50 Cent a.k.a. Curtis Jackson is a good one."
In the same message, Stallone says that "nobody wanted Eric Roberts [to replace] Ben Kingsley" but [he] believes it's vastly improved casting," and reminded "Rocky" fans that no one believed in Talia Shire, Carl Weathers, Dolph Lundgren, Richard Crenna or Mr. T. at first either.
At press time, reps for 50 Cent had not responded to MTV News' requests for comment.
"The Expendables" stars Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham, Jet Li and Stallone himself as Barney "The Schizo" Ross. Lundgren and Arnold Schwarzenegger have also been rumored for roles in the muscle-bound, testosterone-fueled extravaganza.
Oddly, 50 Cent is the fourth actor Stallone has used from the cast of Gela Babluani's "13," which also stars Rourke, Statham, and David Zayas, who plays Angel on "Dexter."