Ain't It Cool News reported that a month-long shooting delay forced Whitaker to walk away due to other, prior commitments. But
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 said that "nobody wanted Eric Roberts [to replace] Ben Kingsley" in the film, but that he believes "it's vastly improved casting. He also 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."