42 High Fashion Facts About The Devil Wears Prada
Since its release in 2006, The Devil Wears Prada has become a classic. And why not? The film has fashion, fun, flirtation, and a brilliant breakout performance by Emily Blunt. Based off of Lauren Weisberger’s novel of the same name, the film lovingly skewers the fashion world, and contains some real life gossip: Weisberger was an assistant to Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue, and the book and film are considered veiled accounts of her trials with the formidable fashionista.
So take off your Louboutins, put up your feet, and get all judgy on these 42 high fashion facts about The Devil Wears Prada.
42. End of the Road?
The Devil Wears Prada was the first big film for many people on the crew, and they had fears that the film would not be a success, and that their careers would be over. Boy, were they wrong!
41. Getting Into Character
The legendary Meryl Streep plays Miranda Priestly, the prickly, powerful fashion editor loosely based on Vogue’s Anna Wintour. Streep took her role seriously: on the her first day on set, she apparently approached Anne Hathaway, who plays the young, fashion-clueless Andy, and said, “I think you’re perfect for the role. I’m so happy we’re going to be working together.” She then continued, “That’s the last nice thing I’ll say to you.” La Streep was true to her word—it was indeed the last nice thing she said to Hathaway on set.
40. That’s Not My Name
To insiders in the fashion industry, Anna Wintour is known as “Nuclear Wintour.”
39. Acting the Part
Wintour attended an advance screening of The Devil Wears Prada dressed head to toe in—what else?—Prada.
38. Thumbs Up
Despite some initial worries, Wintour actually really liked the film. Good thing she has a sense of humor! It also probably doesn’t hurt to be portrayed on screen by Streep; Wintour said she liked Streep’s “decisive nature.”
37. Busy Bee
Emily Blunt, who plays Miranda’s assistant (also named Emily), injected her own ideas into the character. Emily is often seen running around in the background in the office scenes because Blunt felt her character would always be in a state of frenzy.
36. Chance Encounter
Blunt was discovered for the part by a producer in a parking lot at 20th Century Fox; she had just been auditioning for Eragon. When she submitted her audition tape, she wore jeans and flip-flops—the producers asked her to dress more like the character for her callback. Um, so no Uggs then?
35. Designer of Choice
The character of Emily almost exclusively wears Vivienne Westwood throughout the film.
Streep is known more for her acting chops than for being a fashionista, but her philanthropic side is notable as well. She donated all of her very expensive outfits from the film to charity.
33. Plum Role
Emily the assistant reportedly also has a real-life counterpart: Plum Sykes, who was Wintour’s assistant when Weisberger worked for Vogue. I don’t think you could dream up a fictional name as good as “Plum Sykes,” so it’s good they didn’t try.
32. Fairy Tale Ending
Stanley Tucci, who plays Nigel in the movie, ended up marrying Emily Blunt’s sister Felicity six years after filming ended (he met Felicity when he was a guest at Emily’s wedding).
31. Decisions, Decisions
As with any big film, many actresses vied for the part of Miranda. Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Helen Mirren, and Angelina Jolie were all considered for the role.
30. Repeat Viewings
In 2016, Blunt revealed that strangers still come up to her and quote lines from the film, while her husband John Krasinski claims he has seen the film at “like, 75” times. Whoa, Krasinski might be the biggest fan of all of us.
29. You Did Super Well
When Fox positioned it as counter-programming, The Devil Wears Prada actually out-grossed Superman Returns at the box office.
28. Costly Costumes
Patricia Field, of Sex and the City fame, spent more than $1 million on costuming for the film—despite many, many designer loans. Because who wouldn’t want their wares featured in the film?
Meryl Streep based Miranda Priestly’s voice on Clint Eastwood, her appearance on legendary model Carmen Dell’Orefice (she has an iconic white bouffant), and her humor on Mike Nichols’ wit—although she did say Miranda’s walk was all her own.
The original screenplay was written before the novel was published, and took on more parodic, spoofing tone of the fashion industry—something along the lines of Zoolander. It was only when the book became a hit that the script was re-tooled to deal more seriously with the sacrifices involved in striving for excellence.
25. Nanny Cam(eo)
Weisberger, the author of The Devil Wears Prada, shows up in the film in an uncredited role as the twins’ nanny.
Streep made a few small but significant changes to the script and her character. When Miranda opens up to Andy about her divorce, she isn’t wearing any makeup; this was Streep’s idea. Also, Miranda’s line at the end of the film, “Everybody wants to be us,” was originally “Everyone wants to be me.” Streep found the line too self-involved, and changed it at the table reading. Watch a master at work, people!
23. Keep Calm and Carry on With Your Accent
Emily was supposed to be American (as she is in the novels), but Blunt insisted that her character be British.
22. Let Down
When Nigel hears that the job he wanted has gone to someone else, Tucci was told to act as though he had gotten an Oscar nomination and had just heard someone else’s name announced. When he was being given these directions, Streep was nearby, and she said drily, “Oh, I can help with that.” Considering she’s got 20 nominations, I bet she can.
21. Know Your Worth
Streep initially turned down the role of editor-in-chief Miranda, as she said the money on offer wasn’t “reflective of my value to the project.” Lean in, girl.
20. Cutting It Close
Tucci only accepted the role of Nigel 72 hours before he was due to appear on set. What a consummate pro.
19. Thumbs Down
Rachel McAdams was originally tapped to play the role of Andy Sachs, but she turned it down because she wanted to stay away from mainstream fare. McAdams has also turned down several other high profile movies, among them Casino Royale, Iron Man, Get Smart, and Mission: Impossible III. That’s some serious commitment to high art.
18. Script Doctor
Another example of Streep’s work tweaking scripts? She also added the blue sweater scene, which helped further highlight Miranda’s humanity.
17. A Line in the Sand
Although McAdams wasn’t too keen on the role of Andy, Hathaway was. Hathaway traced the words “Hire Me” in the sand of a Zen garden in the office of a Fox exec to make sure she got the part. You know that they say: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
16. Famous Fans
The film has some high-profile celebrity fans, even aside from Krasinski: John Legend and Chrissy Teigen love to watch it. “We always joke about The Devil Wears Prada,” Legend has said. “You can watch it every time it comes on, there’s just something about it.” Who’s to argue with John Legend?
15. Careless Whisper
Streep’s calm, Eastwood-like voice surprised the cast. As Hathaway related, “[we thought her voice] 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.”
Frankel initially didn’t want to direct the film because he felt it was “undirectable,” as it was a “satire rather than a love story.”
13. Double the Trouble
The role of Miranda’s twins went through hundreds of auditions before the production found the perfect pair.
12. I Don’t Want to Be Me
Supermodel Gisele Bündchen appears in the original novel; she gives Miranda a present. In the film, the real Bündchen agreed to appear on one condition: that she not be cast as a model. As a result, she plays Emily’s very tall, very skinny, very beautiful friend.
11. No Go
Juliette Lewis and Claire Danes both auditioned for the part of Andy, but the producers ultimately decided to go in a different direction.
10. Man, I Feel Like a Woman
The Devil Wears Prada was Hathaway’s first adult lead role; she had previously come to stardom on the back of teen films like The Princess Diaries and Ella Enchanted.
9. Going Once, Going Twice
To get into the character of Andy, Hathaway volunteered as an assistant at an auction house before filming began.
8. Take 30
So Streep isn’t always perfect: apparently the montage where Miranda slams her coats down on Andy’s desk took the veteran actress quite some time to film. “It was a hard day for Meryl,” Blunt recalled. “There were probably 30 takes where either her arm got stuck or the coat didn’t hit the desk at the right time. That was one of the funniest things I’d ever seen.”
7. Please Fox, Can We Have Some More?
In order to get the crew and cast over to Paris, the producers had to send Fox a sizzle reel so that the studio would fund the trip—they didn’t have it built into their budget! Side note: is there anyone I can send a sizzle reel to fund my European jaunts?
6. Flight Risk
Streep’s Paris scenes, however, were actually filmed in New York; she was too expensive to fly out to France. I’m going to assume that’s because Streep, icon that she is, only flies first class.
5. Famous Face
Although the film is about the fashion world, only Valentino makes an appearance in the movie. Gossip is, Wintour threatened to ban designers form the glossy pages of Vogue if they showed their faces on the film, although that doesn’t fit with Wintour’s sense of humor about the flick. We may never know the truth!
4. That’s All, Folks
Despite its success, no one (except us, its loyal viewers!) is clamoring for a sequel. Streep has said she is uninterested in reprising her role, and Hathaway told Variety that the first film “might have just hit the right note. It’s good to leave it as it is.”
3. Double Up
Still, if they ever did want to make a sequel, the material is there: Weisberger wrote a sequel novel, Revenge Wears Prada.
2. By the Numbers
Though the film’s budget only clocked in at $41 million, the movie made $326 million at the box office. That’s a lot of Louboutins!
1. Ex Hex
During filming, Anne Hathaway was dating a con artist and embezzler. He was very controlling and tried to force Hathaway to refuse night shoots for the movie. Raffaello Follieri, stand up guy that he was, hated it when Hathaway worked evenings on films—he hated when she worked at all, in fact—and wanted to bar her from doing so on the set of The Devil Wears Prada. As director David Frankel related, “[Hathaway] was always fragile when we shot late.”