This casting would indeed be a coup


Sylvester Stallone might have his man.

Forest Whitaker is negotiating to join the cast of the action film "The Expendables," Stallone's latest writing and directing effort. Whitaker would play the CIA liaison for a group of mercenaries (played by Stallone, Jet Li, Randy Couture and Jason Statham) who are clandestinely sent to South America to overthrow a dictator.

Nu Image/Millennium Films is producing the film. Avi Lerner, John Thompson and Kevin King Templeton are producing with exec producers Boaz Davidson, Trevor Short and Danny Dimbort.

Stallone has been scouting locations for a February shoot. Reports about Stallone's pursuit of "Demolition Man" co-star Sandra Bullock amount to, according to a Nu Image/Millennium spokesperson, merely wishful thinking for fans.

"Expendables" is the first project in Stallone's two-picture deal with Nu Image/Millennium. He last wrote and directed "Rambo," which earned $155 million worldwide.

Whitaker is with WMA. (partialdiff)