Cindy Pearlman and Casey Davidson
May 10, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Perfect Pitt: Trading places with Gwyneth Paltrow may sound like a dream come true, but before you enlist you should know there is a downside to being Brad Pitt’s blonder half — really. ”Occasionally, I get annoyed by [the coverage],” says Paltrow, currently starring with David Schwimmer in The Pallbearer. ”But it’s more like a fleabite. It’s not deeply upsetting. There’s no way I’m going to let the Star ruin my day.” And being under the microscope has taught the lithe young actress how to toy with the tabs. Sporting a diamond ring on her engagement finger during a Pallbearer press junket, Paltrow coyly admitted that it was indeed a present from Pitt. Yet she refused to say it was an engagement ring. ”Let’s just say it was a nice gift.” Nice touch.

New Stomping Ground: After they stole the Oscar ceremonies out from under the stars, you’d expect Stomp — the broom-wielding, pot-banging Off Broadway troupe that introduced the sound effects editing award — to be flooded with offers. Not exactly. ”We’ve had a few calls from producers who wanted to know who [edited] the films,” says Stomp cofounder Steve McNicholas (the Stomp creators did it themselves). McNicholas adds that there’s been interest from corporations that want Stomp to perform at company events. ”But that’s not the kind of work we enjoy,” he says. Nevertheless, the Hollywood gig has beefed up the bottom line. Advance ticket sales at the New York box office are up 100 percent from a year ago. There are plans for Stomp companies to perform in Atlantic City and Toronto this summer. And after years of making noise about it, a trip to France is finally in the offing for fall. ”We’re producing the show ourselves,” says McNicholas. ”Playing in Paris has been our dream.”

Heavy Duty: Chris Farley, buff? The ex-Saturday Night Live star is on a fitness tear for his new movie, Beverly Hills Ninja (due early next year), in which he plays a martial artist-turned-amateur sleuth. ”Chris is very, very agile for anybody, but especially for a man his size,” says L.A.-based trainer Eric Chen, who coaches the comedian every other day in 90-minute sessions. ”He can do a split that is very close to a complete straddle, and he can do multiple cartwheels.” More flexible, maybe, but don’t expect Farley to become a Slim Fast spokesman anytime soon. ”He didn’t lose any weight that I’ve seen,” says Chen, who also appears in the movie’s finale. ”He eats a lot.”

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