Whitaker, Yoakam needle in on ‘Panic’

Kidman to battle thieves in Col pic

This article was corrected on August 9, 2000.

Forest Whitaker and Dwight Yoakam are in final negotiations to star in Columbia Pictures’ “The Panic Room.”

Whitaker, a thesp and occasional director who most recently appeared in helmer Jim Jarmusch’s “Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai,” would star with Yoakam as two of three nefarious thieves intent on retrieving a hidden stockpile of cash in an old New York brownstone.

Between them and the cash lies a “panic room,” the centerpiece of David Koepp’s script in which a single mom-homeowner (Nicole Kidman) and her daughter hide, battling to defend their lives and home.

Yoakam, who appeared in “Sling Blade” “The Minus Man” and “The Newton Boys,” also directed and starred in indie pic “South of Heaven, West of Hell.”

Whitaker, who directed “Hope Floats” and 1995’s “Waiting to Exhale,” recently appeared opposite John Travolta in “Battlefield Earth.”

Col exec veepee of production Matt Tolmach and creative exec Shannon Gaulding are supervising production and development on “Panic.”

Both Whitaker and Yoakam are repped by CAA.

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