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The Devil Wears Prada oral history reunion with Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway


Director David Frankel’s adaptation of Lauren Weisberger’s Faustian yarn – impressed by the creator’s time working below Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour – emerged as a contemporary traditional by way of its mélange of impossibly stylish garments, scorching dialogue, and pointed portrayal of ladies in energy. In time, the film has change into a beacon for gender parity, too, with its ice-queen Runway editor Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) occupying a delectably unapologetic place of energy in a male-dominated world and, as a Hollywood antihero, a uncommon type of main girl. The movie struck a chord with its feminist-tinged, broadly interesting story, and has endured largely because of the spectacular chemistry amongst Streep, Anne Hathaway (who performs Miranda’s assistant-turned protegée Andy Sachs), and scene-stealers Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci, and Adrian Grenier.

For the primary time because the movie’s launch in June 2006, EW has gathered these stars (and extra) for a fierce reunion as they dig their heels into Satan‘s legacy.

With a killer title and 50 pages of a manuscript, Weisberger’s e book was optioned by Fox 2000 in 2002, and work on the movie started earlier than the novel was printed. Producer Wendy Finerman and Fox employed writers Peter Hedges, Howard Michael Gould, Paul Rudnick, and Don Roos to form the story, however their comparatively standard script wasn’t clicking.

DAVID FRANKEL (DIRECTOR): One thing in me reacted in opposition to each beat of the screenplay on the time. It was a revenge story. It was very satirical. I simply felt like I could not do it, and I did all the pieces I may over the following few weeks to worm out of the assembly.… I introduced my imaginative and prescient for the film, which was that Miranda is the heroine, not the villain, of the piece and that this was a coming-of-age story for Andy studying what it took to be nice at one thing.

The studio agreed with Frankel’s imaginative and prescient, and in 2004 the director employed Aline Brosh McKenna (who would go on to pen 27 Clothes and the story for Cruella) to jot down a contemporary screenplay, with the mutual objective of positioning Priestly as a celebration of unapologetic girls as an alternative of a one-dimensional villain.

LAUREN WEISBERGER (AUTHOR): What they have been [originally] lacking was the sharp humor.… It trended towards what you’d count on from…the standard chick flick, like The right way to Lose a Man in 10 Days. It would not have been a stretch to see it stepping into that path, however Aline took it to a complete totally different stage of good, sharp, irreverent humor.

Casting started, with Michelle Pfeiffer, Glenn Shut, and Catherine Zeta-Jones all mentioned for the function of Priestly, however a name from studio head Tom Rothman secured Streep in 2005, and she or he met with the group at her New York residence to debate the script.

MERYL STREEP (MIRANDA): I wasn’t enthusiastic about doing a biopic on Anna; I used to be enthusiastic about her place in her firm. I needed to tackle the burdens she needed to carry, together with having to look good day by day.

ALINE BROSH McKENNA (SCREENWRITER): It was vital [for us] that she not simply be a tough boss however that she embody a sure worth round folks being expendable in service of what, to her, is a higher objective, and that she venerates style and the journal.

EMILY BLUNT (EMILY): [Miranda] provides us a personality who a whole lot of us can aspire to, to be uncompromising, powerful, actual, trustworthy, to the purpose, and never must contort and dance to get your level throughout with out hurting or offending anyone, which I feel males have a a lot simpler time with.

STREEP: Absolute energy corrupts completely…. I preferred that there wasn’t any backing away from the horrible components of her, and the actual scary components of her needed to do with the truth that she did not attempt to ingratiate, which is all the time the feminine emollient in any state of affairs the place you need your approach – what my pal Carrie Fisher used to name “the squeezy and tilty” of all of it. [Miranda] did not do any of that.

With Streep locked, Hathaway – who mentioned on RuPaul’s Drag Race earlier this 12 months that she was the “ninth choice” for the half – campaigned for the function of Andy, although the studio needed a longtime dramatic actress over Hathaway and her then teen-oriented filmography. Rachel McAdams, Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman, Kate Hudson, and Kirsten Dunst have been thought of, however Hathaway continued.

FRANKEL: We began negotiating with Annie to make a deal, and that did not go effectively with the studio.… We provided it to Rachel McAdams thrice. The studio was decided to have her, and she or he was decided to not do it.

ANNE HATHAWAY (ANDY): It spoke to me. It made me really feel. It was a couple of topic that I take very significantly, however in such a splendidly joyful and lighthearted approach.

ELIZABETH GABLER (FORMER FOX 2000 PRESIDENT): I keep in mind her sitting on my couch in my workplace and explaining why she needed to do that, why she needed to play this function, and giving script notes concerning the third act. Once I look again on it, it wasn’t precisely what we ended up doing, however her sensibilities have been fully aligned with what we ended up doing…. Annie by no means gave up. She by no means stopped campaigning, calling, she got here into [Fox executive] Carla Hacken’s workplace and wrote in her zen backyard, “Rent me.”

FRANKEL: Meryl was wanting to make the film, and she or he mentioned “let me meet along with her.” Brokeback Mountain was about to return out. Annie had a beautiful, small function in that. And Meryl watched that scene from the film, she met along with her and referred to as up Tom Rothman at Fox and mentioned, “Yeah, this lady’s nice, and I feel we’ll work effectively collectively.”

HATHAWAY: I patiently waited till it was my flip, and I acquired the decision. It was the best sure on the planet. I keep in mind the second I discovered I acquired the half, I simply ran screaming by way of my residence. I had a bunch of buddies over on the time, I simply jumped up in the lounge and screamed, “I’ll be in The Satan Wears Prada!”

A worry of Wintour (whose representatives didn’t reply to EW’s a number of requests for touch upon this story) solid a shadow over preproduction, and the studio went out to a number of designers – all who refused to seem within the movie, although one outstanding supermodel, Gisele Bündchen, signed on for a small function.

McKENNA: I had monumental bother discovering anybody within the style world who’d discuss to me, as a result of folks have been afraid of Anna and Vogue, not desirous to be blackballed. There was one one who spoke to me, whose identify I’ll by no means expose, who learn it and mentioned, “The folks on this film are too good. Nobody in that world is simply too good. They do not must be, they usually haven’t got time to be.” After that, I did a go to make everybody a bit busier and meaner.

GABLER: There have been additionally folks working throughout the Hollywood company system that had loyalties to her that felt we have been doing one thing that was detrimental or insulting to her. I by no means had any direct conversations with folks, it was all the time getting again to me. We simply labored round it. The actual fact is that Meryl Streep needed to do the film. That put that dialogue at relaxation, as a result of she was so admired and revered that for folks to say Meryl is doing this function, she was going to do her personal model of this function, she wasn’t going to play a parody of anyone.

FRANKEL: The Met Ball meant that the Metropolitan Museum needed nothing to do with us; due to Style Week, Bryant Park [didn’t either]. Even these iconic residence buildings we noticed as prospects for Miranda’s residence, the co-op boards would not allow us to in. We went for weeks being unable to safe places!

GISELE BÜNDCHEN (SERENA): You simply knew the folks that labored at Vogue have been devoted {and professional}. Anna was the ultimate phrase, and everybody needed to please her…however that is true for all the pieces. Who would not wish to please their boss?

WEISBERGER: The scenes the place the driving force calls and she or he’s coming into the workplace and your entire workplace breaks into an absolute panic. That’s the common daily craziness that I feel was vital to keep up…. There have been a whole lot of issues that skewed very near actuality.

FRANKEL: The one contact we had with Vogue was Jess Gonchor, the manufacturing designer, who snuck into their workplaces to get a take a look at Anna’s workplace.… He was capable of re-create the workplace so authentically that I used to be advised Anna redecorated hers instantly after the film got here out.

WEISBERGER: They acquired it actually, actually shut.

As Hathaway and Streep locked their components, relative newcomer Emily Blunt had simply been handed over for a job in Eragon when she acquired the decision (whereas inside a nightclub, she recollects) to play Miranda’s senior assistant, whereas Stanley Tucci joined the weekend earlier than his first scene on a Monday morning, after Frankel thought of 150 different actors for the function of Miranda’s loyal, quick-witted artwork director. With a solid in place, desk reads started.

McKENNA: I freaked out realizing how humorous [Emily] was when she [read] it along with her accent. I grabbed her and…we went to a espresso store, went by way of the script, and peppered it with Britishisms. She advised me how she would say sure issues.

BLUNT: There’s one thing a bit extra imperious that I assumed’d be fascinating.… It was applicable for her, and one thing a bit extra slicing about it that I discovered humorous.

HATHAWAY: I might learn the script so many instances, and I used to be anticipating [Meryl] to return in imperious, loud, and barking orders, and [she] mentioned [her] first line in a whisper and I nearly fell off my chair.

STREEP: It was a direct steal from the best way I noticed Clint Eastwood run a set. He is somebody that guys actually respect, and he by no means raises his voice, ever; the one time that he did, it so terrified folks for 2 weeks, they have been traumatized. In drama faculty [a teacher] mentioned, “The way you play a king has nothing to do with you – you are simply you – it is how all people else within the room acts while you enter it that makes you the king.” It was all as much as them to have this response. I may simply converse and be barely nastier than I usually am.

McKENNA: Within the desk learn, I might written a line within the final scene within the limousine, “all people desires to me,” and [Meryl] modified it to, “all people desires to be us,” as a result of there was the sense that it is concerning the mores of a whole world; It is not about one lady and her values.

STANLEY TUCCI (Nigel): I used to be solid on the eleventh hour…. but it surely was simply such a good looking piece of writing, and there is not any approach that you might ever say no to such a factor. It was attractive. On a structural stage, as a script, you might definitely visualize it as a movie, however the script had tempo to it, and it touched you emotionally. It is the proper Hollywood film.

FRANKEL: Stanley got here in for his first becoming the afternoon earlier than he labored. He had a few hours. He liked the script, however he was looking for the character with no prep or rehearsal. Pat gave him a hoop.

TUCCI: She gave me an enormous rack of rings, and I plucked that one, it was stunning. It simply kind of made sense!

Tucci honed Nigel’s dry humor throughout improvised bits – most famously with the road “Gird your loins!” which precedes Miranda’s first-entrance scene.

TUCCI: We tried [saying] “Tits in!” That was one I made up, however each time we laughed. “Gird your loins!” is best.

BLUNT: There’s [also] this scene within the closet…the place [Nigel] is attempting to suggest that it’s going to take lots to squeeze Andy in these attire. He should’ve executed 10 variations. It was like “a bit of duct tape, fishing wire, Crisco,” and on: “Yards of material and a staple gun!”…. I did not know what he was going to return out with subsequent. I feel it is when I’ve to say, “Oh, that, I can not even speak about,” about Andy. There was not one the place I acquired by way of it unscathed.

BÜNDCHEN: We have been laughing lots. [Anne, Emily and I] have been guffawing and speaking about all the pieces, being ladies, speaking about what we had for breakfast. When it was [time for my] scene, we have been speaking about an eyelash roller. I added a line, as a result of it felt pure to me, and it made the minimize! We did it a couple of instances and I actually had one sentence or two sentences, however I feel I added one as a result of [Emily] was being imply [to Andy] and I assumed, “She appears to be like good!” They have been like, “That is good!”

Costumer Patricia Area assembled the movie’s wardrobe – roughly 150 items, from Donna Karan and Prada to Zac Posen and Rick Owens, over 4 weeks-with an eye fixed towards differentiating Streep from Wintour.

FRANKEL: There have been [initially] no designers of be aware who would seem within the movie. They simply did not wish to incur the wrath of Anna. A few of them confirmed us their showrooms or gave us notes on the authenticity of the script; they only did not wish to take part. Initially, Pat had a tough time getting garments out of a whole lot of the designers. I feel it was Prada that helped her break the ice and mentioned that Anna’s not going to be upset.

HATHAWAY: I [remember wearing] a Chanel pattern, and it had pins in it. I used to be pulling pins out for weeks. I might do a take, like, “Ow!” And we might minimize, I might fish it out. In fact they have been Chanel pins, in order that they have been impossibly stylish as effectively.

STREEP: Pat did a miracle with this. It is like all of the particular results in Tom Cruise’s Mission: Inconceivable films, that is the feminine equal of that. It was her nice relationships with all of the great homes, the designers, the folks within the style enterprise that she was capable of, as a result of she’s so liked. She borrowed all the pieces; We needed to be very cautious to not eat spaghetti at lunch as a result of it’d go down the entrance they usually could not return it!

BLUNT: Any probability Meryl and I had, I do know we have been in Uggs in a lot of the pictures from the waist up, however Annie [was running] over cobblestone streets like a sure-footed little mountain goat.

PATRICIA FIELD (COSTUME DESIGNER): Meryl advised me she [wanted] to have white hair.… I mentioned to Meryl, “I can not persuade [the producers]. They’ve of their thoughts that white hair is grey hair.”

FRANKEL: The primary time Meryl was Miranda Priestly was a gathering with the pinnacle of the studio. Meryl channeled Miranda in that assembly, and there was no dialog concerning the hair; they regarded into Meryl’s eyes and by no means mentioned a phrase.

GABLER: [I got an email] from Carla Hacken saying, “Do not freak out, however I simply acquired an early take a look at what Meryl’s hair goes to appear to be.” Meryl and J. Roy Helland, who’s been at her facet by way of a lot of her profession, got here up with the look, which we weren’t anticipating. She simply mentioned “My ladies, do not you are worried, that is what I’ll do and it will be nice.”

To raised match the function of a domineering boss, Streep somtimes laced her real-life interactions with Blunt and Hathaway with ice. The latter embraced the darkness – and fused her personal pathos with the fabric.

BLUNT: Meryl is so gregarious and enjoyable as hell, in some methods it wasn’t probably the most enjoyable for her having to take away herself. It wasn’t like she was unapproachable; You could possibly go as much as her and say, “Oh my God, the funniest factor simply occurred,” and she or he’d hear, however I do not know if it was probably the most enjoyable for her to be on set being that approach.

STREEP: It was horrible! I used to be [miserable] in my trailer. I may hear all of them rocking and laughing. I used to be so depressed! I mentioned, “Nicely, it is the value you pay for being boss!” That is the final time I ever tried a Technique factor!

HATHAWAY: I did really feel intimidated, however I all the time felt cared for. I knew that no matter she was doing to create that worry, I appreciated [because] I additionally knew she was watching out for me. There’s this scene the place [she says], “You are simply as disappointing as the remainder of these foolish ladies.” I keep in mind when the digital camera turned on me, the stress actually acquired to me, and I might had such emotional fluidity within the day as much as that time, but it surely simply wasn’t there anymore. I keep in mind having the expertise of watching [her] watch me, and [she] altered [her] efficiency ever so barely, and simply made it a bit of bit totally different, and introduced extra out of me and acquired me to interrupt by way of no matter barrier I had.

ADRIAN GRENIER (NATE): It was a testomony to Anne: [she and I were supposed to kiss in the grilled cheese] scene that she labored by way of, saying, “I simply do not assume it is proper…simply would not really feel like we’re at that time in our relationship. There’s an excessive amount of historical past.” She was proper. We forwent that intimacy for one thing extra familial.

FRANKEL: Annie was completely dedicated to the darkish facet, to the struggling.… There is a beautiful scene with Stanley, the place she’s getting yelled at, she’s able to stop.… We have been establishing the shot, and I used to be like, “The place’s Annie?” She was hunkered down in a nook of the set, and she or he had Madame Butterfly, the opera, enjoying in her head, going to her unhappy place. She mentioned, “Simply begin rolling, and I am going to stroll in,” and she or he got here in and was actually teary.

At $35 million, the movie was modestly budgeted. Its climactic scenes set in Paris nearly needed to be shot domestically. The studio wanted cuts – McKenna estimates she nixed $10 million price of scenes, together with the “Florals? For spring?” bit that Frankel saved, and an alternate ending that did not survive.

McKENNA: We did movie…. a deleted opening the place [Andy went to the wrong building [for her interview], but it surely was all the time about attempting to get into the film sooner. The scene the place Andy missed Nate’s birthday and is available in with a cupcake, we initially had 20 issues there. It was going to be that they have been all going to a live performance and she or he exhibits up late, however that stuff was too costly. The most cost effective approach that she let him down was by lacking his birthday and coming into that residence set with the cupcake. We had many variations of that. The film used to finish with a barely extra upbeat scene with Nate, extra of a reconciliation. They’re so younger they usually’re selecting spouses for his or her life, however we all know that 25-year-olds aren’t in that place…. I had written a extra standard ending the place they run by way of the park collectively or one thing.

GRENIER: When that complete factor [about Nate being the “real villain” of the film] first got here out, I could not get my head round it. I did not perceive it. Maybe it was as a result of I wasn’t mature as a person, simply as Nate most likely may’ve used a bit of rising up. I used to be simply as immature as him on the time, so I could not see his shortcomings, however, after taking time to replicate and far deliberation on-line, I can understand the reality in that perspective. Nate hadn’t grown up, however Andy had…. she wanted extra out of life, and she or he was reaching it. He could not help her like she wanted as a result of he was a fragile, wounded boy…. on behalf of all of the Nates on the market: Come on! Step it up!

HATHAWAY: I do not assume all people’s being fully trustworthy with themselves about their very own poutiness. Nate was pouty on his birthday as a result of his girlfriend wasn’t there! In hindsight, I am certain he needs he made a unique alternative, however who would not? We have all been brats at totally different factors. All of us simply must stay, let stay, and do higher!

Frankel and editor Mark Livolsi then created a midproduction sizzle reel that calmed the studio’s nerves, and allowed for Hathaway and supporting actor Simon Baker (who declined participation on this story) to movie throughout one weekend in Paris. With manufacturing wrapped, Frankel completed what turned the ultimate minimize in three weeks and Streep was among the many first folks he confirmed it to. Take a look at showings started, with an surprising visitor popping in round Could 2006.

McKENNA: Anna got here to the primary screening in New York. She sat proper in entrance of me and David along with her daughter and wore Prada, which exhibits she has an ideal humorousness!

FRANKEL: I keep in mind her daughter nudging her by way of the screening, like, “They acquired that proper!… A pair years later, I used to be at a tennis match in Miami…seated behind her, and when it was over, I made the hassle to introduce myself. “I am David Frankel, the director of The Satan Wears Prada,” and [she took her] hand out of [my handshake]!”

Marketed to girls as counterprogramming in opposition to Superman Returns, the movie grossed $124 million domestically and obtained two Oscar nominations.

STREEP: As a result of they’d given us such straitened circumstances to make the movie with a smaller finances, this opened up and mentioned {that a} “chick flick” could be a big hit with a broad viewers. That is the primary film [where] males have come as much as me and mentioned, “I understand how you felt; I’ve an organization, and no one understands me. It is actually exhausting.” It is the toughest factor on the planet for a person to really feel his approach by way of to the protagonist of the movie if it is a lady.

TUCCI: Our society is conditioned to see the world by way of males’s eyes in cinema and literature, and this began to make that change.

HATHAWAY: I feel it set a technology as much as determine, effectively, who am I going to be within the office, who am I going to be after I’m a pacesetter?

FRANKEL: [The studio] did not ask for [a sequel]. We had a gathering the place we mentioned, “What may we do if there was a sequel?” Perhaps it was silly; we felt like, No, this story has been advised.… Lauren ultimately wrote one other e book following up 15 years later. We got here to the identical conclusion, that simply following the characters would not be the identical.

WEISBERGER: There have been a whole lot of conversations about it. I would not say it is out of the realm of risk.

McKENNA: Magazines and publishing have modified a lot. This can be a time frame the place [Andy] took a bodily e book to somebody’s home day by day so she may leaf by way of it. Perhaps they nonetheless try this, however I doubt it. It had its second!

The Satan Wears Prada is offered now on Blu-ray and digital platforms. Watch the complete solid reunion video above.

A model of this story seems within the July subject of Leisure Weekly, on newsstands June 18 and available to order here. Remember to subscribe for extra unique interviews and pictures, solely in EW.



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