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'Sleepers' Films in N.Y.

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For the past several months, Sleepers — directed by Barry Levinson and due next fall from Warner Bros. — has been filming in New York City, and the production has all the attitude of a Bronx cheer. Based on Lorenzo Carcaterra’s 1995 best-selling quasi-memoir, it’s the saga of four boyhood friends from Hell’s Kitchen who land in an abusive reform school and grow up to exact murderous revenge on their sadistic former guards. The film stars a smokin’ Brad Pitt (1) as an assistant district attorney; Dustin Hoffman (whose last Levinson collaboration, Rain Man, won him his second Oscar) as a defense lawyer (2); and Robert De Niro (3, with Levinson) as a priest. What’s Levinson’s biggest gripe about filming in NYC? ”Traffic,” he says. And don’t get him started on public transportation. ”We wanted to do one scene on the subway steps and one scene on a train, a little scene with two men talking.” For that, ”we took a train ride to hell with the Transit Authority.” Welcome to the Big Apple.