20 Fabulous Facts About The Devil Wears Prada—That’s All!
It’s the film that proved Anne Hathaway’s range extended beyond fairy tale princesses, appeared to confirm the rumors that Vogue editor Anna Wintour was the boss from hell, and perhaps most importantly, educated us all on the difference between blue and cerulean. And on June 30, 2021, The Devil Wears Prada celebrates its 15th anniversary. Thanks to a social media meme that just will not die, we all now know that Andy’s whiny boyfriend Nate was the movie's real villain. But here’s a look at 20 other facts about the chic comedy that might have escaped your attention. That’s all!
1. Fox bought the rights to The Devil Wears Prada before the book was even finished.
It’s fair to say that executives at 20th Century Fox were pretty confident in The Devil Wears Prada’s concept. The studio bought the rights to its source material, Lauren Weisberger’s novel of the same name, in 2003 before it had even been completed. Indeed, then-executive vice president Carla Hacken was so impressed with the manuscript containing just the first 100 pages that she instantly greenlit a big screen adaptation. “I thought Miranda Priestly was one of the greatest villains ever,” Hacken told Variety on the film’s 10th anniversary. “I remember we aggressively went in and scooped it up.”
2. Meryl Streep took inspiration from an unlikely source for Miranda Priestly.
Meryl Streep’s super-stylish editor-in-chief wouldn’t appear to have much in common with a grizzled octogenarian whose biggest contribution to fashion is the woolly poncho. But the Oscar favorite did, in fact, look to Dirty Harry himself, Clint Eastwood, for inspiration while playing Miranda. The character’s ability to command attention in a softly-spoken manner was adopted from Streep’s The Bridges of Madison County co-star, as she explained to Variety in 2016: “He never, ever, ever raises his voice and everyone has to lean in to listen, and he is automatically the most powerful person in the room."
3. Anna Wintour turned up at The Devil Wears Prada premiere … in Prada.
It’s little wonder that many believe The Devil Wears Prada is more of a straightforward biopic than fictional dramedy. Weisberger used to be Anna Wintour’s personal assistant, after all. And according to reports, numerous fashion houses were so scared of upsetting the Vogue editor that they refused to have anything to do with the film. Wintour, however, appeared to take it all in her stride. She even turned up to its premiere, wearing Prada, of course, where she voiced her approval. “Anything that makes fashion entertaining and glamorous and interesting is wonderful for our industry,” Wintour told ABC News. “So, I was 100 percent behind it.”
4. Meryl Streep’s daughter appeared in The Devil Wears Prada, but her scene was cut.
As the daughter of the film’s three-time Oscar-winning leading lady, Mamie Gummer no doubt believed she was safe from the cutting room floor after making a brief cameo as a barista. Sadly for Streep’s second-born, The Devil Wears Prada’s editors were as ruthless as Miranda Priestly. Yes, the scene in which Hathaway’s Andy asks her for a coffee that’s “center of the sun hot” never made it into the finished film. Gummer has been able to share the screen with her mom on two other occasions, though. She played Streep’s daughter in both Mike Nichols's adaptation of the Nora Ephron-penned Heartburn (1986) and the musical dramedy Ricki and the Flash (2015).
5. The Devil Wears Prada created a new family connection.
Emily Blunt and Stanley Tucci both regularly threatened to steal the show as Miranda’s senior assistant Emily and Runway’s art director Nigel, respectively. And their working relationship soon spilled over into their private lives, too. While attending his co-star’s wedding to John Krasinski in 2010, Tucci met the bride’s literary agent sister Felicity. Within two years, Tucci was also walking down the aisle with a member of the Blunt family. “Ten years after The Devil Wears Prada, Stanley is in my actual family. How frightening is that?” Tucci’s sister-in-law joked to Variety.
6. Anne Hathaway wasn’t the first choice to play Andy in The Devil Wears Prada.
It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Anne Hathaway strutting around the streets of New York to the sounds of KT Tunstall’s “Suddenly I See.” But the future Academy Award winner wasn’t the first choice to take on the role of Miranda’s poor put-upon assistant Andy Sachs. Producers initially had Rachel McAdams in mind, but wanting to take her career in a less commercial direction, the Mean Girls star decided to pass. Juliette Lewis and Claire Danes were also reportedly in the frame before Hathaway was given the part that would help cement her A-list status.
7. Anne Hathaway had to fight for the role of Andy in The Devil Wears Prada.
Hathaway still had to fight tooth and nail to get the part of Andy, though. Back in the mid-2000s, the actress was still best-known for tween-friendly fantasies The Princess Diaries and Ella Enchanted. So Fox was skeptical about both her pulling power and her ability to make the leap to more adult-oriented fare. Desperate to get the role, Hathaway wrote “Hire Me” in sand following a meeting with executive Hacken. She later recalled to Variety how she discovered that her less-than-subtle tactic had worked: “I had some buddies over. I remember running out in my living room, half dressed, screaming—I got The Devil Wears Prada.”
8. Meryl Streep almost turned down the role of Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada.
With no fewer than 21 Oscar nominations to her name, Streep may be widely regarded as one of the all-time acting greats. She hasn’t, however, always been the best paid. But perhaps inspired by the no-nonsense character she was being asked to play, the Hollywood icon decided in 2005 that it was time to start asking for what she’s worth. Streep initially turned down the role of Miranda due to an offer she told Variety was “slightly, if not insulting, not perhaps reflective of my actual value to the project.” As a result, producers doubled her fee. “I was 55, and I had just learned, at a very late date, how to deal on my own behalf.”
9. Anne Hathaway had to both gain and lose weight for her role in The Devil Wears Prada.
Actors are used to gaining or losing weight for a role, but poor Hathaway had to do both while filming The Devil Wears Prada. The actress was first told to put on 10 pounds by director David Frankel, but to fit into some of the movie’s couture outfits, costume designer Patricia Fields then requested that she shed the same amount. Hathaway admitted to People in 2006 that she didn’t exactly enjoy the swinging diet experience: “It was a nightmare. It took me about a month to gain it and two months to lose it.”
10. Meryl Streep stayed in character off camera while shooting The Devil Wears Prada.
Streep isn’t particularly renowned for Method acting. After all, her experiences on Kramer vs Kramer with Dustin Hoffman showed how the approach can get wildly out of hand. But the awards darling appeared to have embraced it wholeheartedly while playing Miranda Priestly. During a 2014 appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Hathaway recalled, "When I met her she gave me a huge hug. And I’m like, 'Oh my God, we are going to have the best time on this movie,' and then she’s like, 'Ah, sweetie, that’s the last time I’m nice to you.'" Streep then maintained her character’s ice queen persona on- and off-camera until filming wrapped.
11. The Devil Wears Prada prevented Emily Blunt from playing Black Widow.
Blunt’s performance as her namesake assistant transformed the relative unknown into a bona fide superstar. But it also inadvertently stopped her from becoming a bona fide superhero. The Brit was offered the part of Black Widow in 2010’s Iron Man 2. But thanks to the deal she signed with Fox for The Devil Wears Prada, Blunt was already contracted to the rather more forgettable Jack Black flick Gulliver’s Travels. Blunt later told Howard Stern, “It was a bit of a heartbreaker for me, because I take such pride in the decisions that I make. And they mean so much to me, the films that I do, so that was tough.”
12. Thomas Lennon rues the day he turned down a role in The Devil Wears Prada.
“This one is probably one of the dumbest moves in my life.” That’s how comedy favorite Thomas Lennon described the decision to reject a part in The Devil Wears Prada. The Reno 911! regular was offered the role which eventually went to Tucci just three days before filming started. But he admitted that at the time he couldn’t see the merit in the part. Lennon, trying to look on the bright side, told Vulture, “At least I got to go to a parking lot in Sun Valley and get kicked in the nuts by Nick Swardson. That’s what I was doing instead of getting nominated for awards with Meryl Streep.”
13. Working nights was a problem for Anne Hathaway while filming The Devil Wears Prada.
Andy’s boyfriend Nate, who was played by Entourage star Adrian Grenier, is regarded by many—including Grenier—as the film’s true villain. Unfortunately for Hathaway, her real-life partner at the time also appeared to be the worst. In 2016, Frankel told Variety that Hathaway's then-boyfriend, real estate developer Raffaello Follieri, made things extremely stressful whenever filming ran over schedule. "[Hathaway] was living with a guy who was a felon and embezzler," Frankel said. "He didn't want her to be working at all; he hated that she worked nights. She was always fragile when we shot late.” Follieri was later sentenced to four years in prison for those aforementioned crimes.
14. Miranda Priestly didn’t wear any Prada in The Devil Wears Prada.
Fields didn’t actually dress Miranda in Prada; instead, she looked toward longtime friend Donna Karan to give the magazine editor her sense of style. Streep also played a pivotal role in the character’s look. It was Streep who insisted on dying her hair a striking white in homage to Carmen Dell’Orefice, the New York supermodel who became a Vogue favorite in the post-war era. Streep, who earned both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for her performance in the film, also took inspiration from Liz Tilberis, the former editor of another fashion monthly, Harper’s Bazaar.
15. Emily Blunt was inspired by a real-life figure for her role in The Devil Wears Prada.
While author Weisberger has never publicly admitted that Miranda is based on her former Vogue boss Wintour, she has confirmed that at least one character is inspired by a real-life figure. Blunt's character, assistant Emily, owes her sharp-tongued personality to Plum Sykes, one of Weisberger’s ex-colleagues at the style bible who’s since become a bestselling writer herself. However, Emily’s accent is all Blunt. The character was originally supposed to be American but producers were so enamored by the Brit’s accent that they decided she could hail from the other side of the Atlantic.
16. Meryl Streep never went to Paris.
With "only" $35 million in the kitty, Fox initially told Frankel that they couldn’t really shoot the Paris-based scenes in Paris. They did eventually allow a limited cast and crew—including Hathaway and on-screen love interest Simon Baker—to make a two-day transatlantic trip after seeing some impressive early rushes. Their funds, however, didn’t stretch to include a plane ticket for the film’s biggest star. Yes, Streep had to pretend she was in the French capital using a mixture of green screen and cleverly disguised New York settings. The magic of cinema!
17. Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep are both responsible for their most quotable lines in The Devil Wears Prada.
Both Streep and Blunt were allowed minor input into Aline Brosh McKenna’s script, and they both ended up coining their respective characters’ most quotable lines. The former changed Miranda’s final words to “Everybody wants to be us” during the table read, while the latter came up with Emily’s memorable one-liner plus accompanying hand signals, “Yeah, I’m hearing this (opens and closes hand), and I want to hear this (closes hand).” Blunt told Howard Stern’s show on Sirius XM that she actually borrowed the phrase from a stressed mom she saw shouting at her child in a supermarket.
18. The Devil Wears Prada author Lauren Weisberger has a cameo in the movie.
From Italian designer Valentino Garavani and fashion journalist Robert Verdi to supermodel Heidi Klum and talent show judge Nigel Barker, there are several blink-and-you’ll-miss-them celebrity cameos in The Devil Wears Prada. But the tiniest belonged to the woman who was responsible for it all. Author Weisberger briefly pops up as Miranda’s twins’ nanny, something which she admits to MailOnline that she’s “hard-pressed to locate after several viewings.” It may not have kickstarted a glittering screen career, but the novelist enjoyed being on set throughout, adding, “It was such a once-in-a-lifetime thing and so removed from my normal life.”
19. A TV spinoff of The Devil Wears Prada was planned.
Having watched The Devil Wears Prada gross nearly $327 million at the box office, Fox Studios understandably wanted to strike while the iron was hot. Within just a year of its release, news of a single-camera TV spinoff emerged, with Marie Claire editor Joanna Coles revealing that she’d been followed around for a week by a staff writer in the name of research. Sadly, the idea failed to even progress to the pilot stage. But that wasn’t quite the end of Miranda, Andy and co. In 2017, Sir Elton John signed up to co-write the songs for a stage musical version, which is expected to hit Broadway in 2022.
20. Meryl Streep isn’t interested in making a sequel to The Devil Wears Prada.
Before Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Streep hadn’t made a sequel in her 50-year career. So it’s little surprise to learn she’s uninterested in making The Devil Wears Prada: Part II. And if there ever is a return to the Runway offices, it looks as if a new Andy would have to be cast, too. Hathaway told Variety, “I’d love to make a movie with all the people again that’s something totally different. But I think that one might have just hit the right note. It’s good to leave it as it is.” Who knows whether Weisberger’s 2018 sequel, When Life Gives You Lululemons, will have changed anyone’s minds?