6 things to know about 'The Devil Wears Prada': Stars tell all on film's 10th anniversary
MANILA, Philippines – A decade has passed since The Devil Wears Prada first hit cinemas, but until now, its snarky lines are still perennially quoted, such as "That's all," "I'm just one stomach flu away from my goal weight," and of course, the infamous "That sweater isn't just blue" monologue.
Acting legend Meryl Streep played the icy fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly, while Anne Hathaway was just fresh out of a couple of family-friendly flicks like The Princess Diaries and Ella Enchanted when she took on the role of junior editorial assistant Andrea "Andy" Sachs. British actress Emily Blunt also played Emily Charlton, the senior assistant.
Now, the movie celebrates 10 years of existence, as it became a modern classic in its own right.
"I never had any idea that my lines would get quoted to me every single week of my life since the movie has come out," Emily, who delivered the darkly humorous "I'm just one stomach flu away from my goal weight" line, told Variety.
Meanwhile, Anne highlights the universal experience of working under a boss of Miranda Priestly's nature. "Everybody has had an experience like this," she said.
Stanley Tucci, who played a top editor of the fictional Runway magazine, said, "It’s a f*cking brilliant movie. The brilliant movies become influential, no matter what they are about."
On the occasion of the film's 10th anniversary, its stars and some important people behind the film tell Variety about things that you may not have known about The Devil Wears Prada. Here are some of those:
1. Anne Hathaway was not the first option to play Andy Sachs. Rachel McAdams was.
Fox, the company who produced The Devil Wears Prada, originally wanted a big-name star to play the role of Andy Sachs. For them, that was The Notebook and Mean Girls star Rachel McAdams, but she eventually turned down the role – "multiple times" – because she wanted "to step away from mainstream material."
"I didn’t have to audition," Anne said, adding that she was aware that she wasn't really the filmmakers' "first choice."
"I had to be patient. I wasn’t the first choice," she said.
She recalled how she found out about getting the role: "I was putting on a shirt. I had some buddies over. I remember running out in my living room, half dressed, screaming –I got The Devil Wears Prada! I got The Devil Wears Prada!"
2. Meryl Streep was somehow responsible for the inclusion of at least 2 scenes.
The award-winning actress wanted to convey a Miranda Priestly that is "fully-formed" and isn't caricature-like. "I am not sure the movie celebrates her as much as appreciates her business accomplishments. It’s hard to run a big company like that," she said.
Thus, two memorable scenes were included with Meryl's suggestions: "getting the business of fashion scene in the movie" and "a scene where she is without her armor."
The first suggestion was manifested in the now iconic and oft-quoted scene where the Runway editor dressed Andy down. At one point, Miranda says: "That blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs, and it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room… from a pile of stuff."
The latter, she said, was the "unpeeled scene in the hotel room [in Paris]," where she opens up to Andy about her impending divorce. She said it was "just to see that face without it protective glaze, to glimpse the woman in the businesswoman."
3. Meryl negotiated for a pay raise and would've said 'goodbye' to the project if her offer wasn't doubled.
"The offer was to my mind slightly, if not insulting, not perhaps reflective of my actual value to the project," Meryl said.
The Oscar-winning actress added, "There was my 'goodbye moment,' and then they doubled the offer. I was 55, and I had just learned, at a very late date, how to deal on my own behalf."
Initially in June 2006, The Devil Wears Prada was meant to be an alternative to superhero blockbuster Superman Returns, but it delivered much more – besting its competition in the cinemas by grossing $326 million worldwide.
Variety's New York bureau chief Ramin Setoodeh wrote, "The Devil Wears Prada showed Hollywood that it was never wise to underestimate a strong woman’s worth."
4. Miranda Priestly, at least for Meryl, isn't really based on US Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Her portrayal is actually based on men.
It's a fact that Lauren Weisberger worked as an assistant for the infamously cold Anna Wintour who helmed the US edition of Vogue. She also penned The Devil Wears Prada – the novel – just months after she departed from the magazine.
But her own portrayal of Miranda Priestly isn't based on Wintour, she said during the press tour for the movie, as quoted by Variety: "The voice I got from Clint Eastwood. 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."
"But he is not funny. That I stole from Mike Nichols. The way the cruelest cutting remark, if it is delivered with a tiny self-amused curlicue of irony, is the most effective instruction, the most memorable correction, because everyone laughs, even the target."
"The walk, I’m afraid, is mine," Meryl said, adding that the look is based on 85-year-old model and actress Carmen Dell'Orefice.
"I wanted a cross between her and the unassailable elegance and authority of Christine Lagarde [managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)]."
Anne Hathaway also had something to say about Meryl's portrayal of the magazine editor: "I think we all had an idea of what Miranda would sound like. It was a strident, bossy, barking voice."
"So when Meryl opened her mouth and basically whispered, everybody in the room drew a collective gasp. It was so unexpected and brilliant."
5. The line 'Everybody wants to be us' was Meryl's idea.
In one of the scenes set in Paris, Miranda tells Andy, "Everybody wants to be us." Then the latter has an epiphany of some sort and leaves her boss on the spot.
According to Variety, this was a tweak Meryl had made during a table read.
6. The film made a significant departure from the original novel
The filmmakers argued that the original story followed a revenge tale: "Andy getting even with Miranda."
Elizabeth Gabler, the president of production outfit Fox 2000 told Variety, "If you study the book, there is not a strong narrative that propels the plot forward. That required quite a bit of invention and trial and error. And since there wasn’t a strong third act in the book, we needed to invent that."
David Frankel, the director echoed this: "It seemed undirectable to me. It was a satire rather than a love story."
"Miranda was a witch, and Andy’s motivation was to get her revenge," he explained his concerns. "There was a lot of conflict that ended with Miranda being humiliated. I felt that wasn’t satisfying. My view was that we should be grateful for excellence. Why do the excellent people have to be nice?"
Eventually, the screenwriter who was hired, Aline Brosh McKenna, wrote a script that was more about the sacrifices made for the sake of the job at a fashion magazine. – Rappler.com