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Stars stud Whaley bow

Kilmer, Hawke, Leguizamo hit 'Avenue'

NEW YORK — Val Kilmer, Ethan Hawke, John Leguizamo, Noah Fleiss, Karen Young, Camryn Manheim and Austin Pendleton havem set up house-keeping on “Pleasant View Avenue,” the writing-directing debut of thesp Frank Whaley (“Swimming With Sharks”) that began lensing in New York this week.

The low-budget, independent film is being produced by 49th Parallel Prods., Forensic Films and Leguizamo’s Lower East Side Films. Producers are Robin O’Hara, Scott Macaulay, Jennifer Dewis and Lindsay Marx.

Leguizamo, recently nominated for two Tony Awards for his Broadway show “Freak,” will handle exec producing chores along with Janet Grillo. Kathy DeMarco is co-producer.

Whaley has appeared in nearly 40 films, including “Pulp Fiction,” “Broken Arrow” and “Born on the Fourth of July.” After he wraps “Pleasant View Avenue,” Whaley will star in the new CBS television series “Buddy Faro.”

Set in the late 1970s, the film tells the story of a teenage boy who commits a crime that propels him out of adolescence. “It’s a sort of bittersweet drama and it’s partly autobiographical,” Whaley told Daily Variety. “It’s about a boy who steals from the poor to give back to the poor.”

Fleiss plays an underaged dishwasher who is scraping by while Leguizamo is the manager of the greasy spoon where he works. Hawke portrays his guidance counselor and Kilmer plays his father.

Fleiss, 14, has appeared on the big screen in “Chasing the Dragon” and in “Josh and S.A.M.” as well as in TV movies such as “An Unexpected Family” and “A Mother’s Prayer.”

A New York-based production company, 49th Parallel Prods. was founded in 1996 by Dewis and Marx to focus on the work of first-time helmers. It most recently exec produced “Row Your Boat,” a feature directed by Solace Mitchell starring Jon Bon Jovi and Bai Ling.

Also based in Gotham, Forensic is run by Macaulay and O’Hara, who earlier this year received the Ralph Lauren Producers Award at the IFP/West Spirit Awards for producing Jesse Peretz’s “First Love, Last Rites,” which Strand Releasing will open in August.

Leguizamo’s partner in Lower East Side Films is David Bar Katz. The two are producing the Fox Searchlight film “Esquivel” and a Latin-themed, as-yet-untitled project for HBO NYC Prods.