RAT PATROL: Ethan Hawke, mall rat? Not if Clerks director Kevin Smith and producer Scott Mosier have anything to say about it. The indie toasts of Sundance are now working on their first studio film, Mall Rats about a day in the life of a shopping center for Universal. ''The studio has given us a list of stars they think should be in the movie,'' says Smith. ''The list has names like Mike Myers. That dude is like 40, man! He can't play a teen.'' (Myers is, in fact, 30.) The studio also suggested Myers' fellow SNLers Adam Sandler and Chris Farley, but was particularly hot on Hawke. Sighs Smith: ''He's the most overworked actor in America. I'd like to give him a rest.'' The two say they're leaning toward 22-year-old Henry Thomas, best known for E.T. ''He seems like he's at the perfect age,'' says Mosier. ''Plus, he looks like a teen lanky and tall.''
GET PRET: These days, all any fashion maven worth her Prada knapsack wants to know is how the couture world fares in Robert Altman's upcoming Prêt-à-Porter, ) which documents a heady week at the Paris fashion shows. The mere idea of the movie once struck fear into the hearts of some fashionistas; Women's Wear Daily chief John Fairchild and designers including Karl Lagerfeld and Valentino declined to take part in the spoof. But CNN style editor Elsa Klensch has seen the movie and reports, ''The sense from the designers is that Altman has treated us very fairly.'' Equally pleased with the film if not with the fashion world is Julia Roberts. ''Watching Prêt-à-Porter,'' says Roberts, who spends her screen time stuck in a hotel room with Tim Robbins, ''is the safest way to be involved in fashion shows.''
HYNDE SIGHT: U2's Bono was to Frank Sinatra's 5 million-selling Duets what the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde is to the upcoming Duets II: the lone rocker. Hynde, 43, will be heard swapping stanzas with Ol' Blue Eyes on a jazzy rendition of the Guys and Dolls classic ''Luck Be a Lady.'' But, cool appeal aside, what qualifies the raspy-voiced singer for the album, due Nov. 15, is her experience as a Pretender. As on Duets, Sinatra recorded the songs, then sent the tracks to his partners to add their vocals. ''I suppose the public would say we're cheating,'' says Hynde. ''But if the girl that works in Woolworth's wants to think we were holding hands and looking into each other's eyes, well, we're trying to make it sound that way. After all, you can't expect Frank, at 78, to fly all over the world and meet lowlifes like me.''
PUSH COMES TO SHOVE: When you think Jack Palance, you think one thing: one-arm push-ups. Ever since Palance concluded his 1992 Best Supporting Actor acceptance speech for City Slickers with an amazing display of physical prowess, fans expect Palance to drop and do five on the spot. ''Anywhere I go, people ask me to [do it],'' grumbles Palance. Although the 74-year-old actor rarely complies, he's not above spoofing his image: In the new animated movie The Swan Princess, Palance lends his voice to Rothbart, who, in one scene, unexpectedly drops to the ground and gives the people what they want.