On the first day of filming, Meryl Streep told Anne Hathaway, "I think you're perfect for the role. I'm so happy we're going to be working together." Then she paused and followed it up with, "That's the last nice thing I'll say to you." And it was.
Anna Wintour, the formidable editor of Vogue (and the rumored inspiration for Miranda Priestly), was not invited to the premiere. She did, however, attend an advance screening for the press (dressed, head-to-toe, in Prada).
Anna Wintour, the powerful Vogue editor on whom Meryl Streep's character was widely believed to be based on in the novel (Lauren Weisberger once worked as her assistant), reportedly warned major fashion designers, who had been invited to make cameo appearances as themselves in the film, that they would be banished from the magazine's pages if they did so. Wintour's spokespeople deny this claim. However, it is notable that Vogue and other major women's and fashion magazines have avoided reviewing or even mentioning the book in their pages.
Emily Blunt was cast before Anne Hathaway. In several scenes, she is seen running about in the background, though never written nor directed. She felt her character would always be busy, and wanted to keep her alive in the film. Also, most of her wardrobe is from Vivienne Westwood.
Author of the original novel, Lauren Weisberger, reportedly based the character Emily upon Plum Sykes, writer and former assistant to Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. Sykes worked at Vogue at the same time as Weisberger.
The book that Miranda asks Andy to retrieve for her twin daughters is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. One of the prop books used in the movie, sold in an online auction for 586 dollars, and proceeds went to Dress for Success, a non-profit organization that assists more than 45 thousand disadvantaged women each year as they transition into the workforce.
In one of the original drafts, Miranda explains how she started out as an assistant and worked her way up. It is also revealed where she grew up: Pearl River, New York. The scene then continues on to the scene of Miranda confessing her divorce to Andy. This, however, is not true to the book, as Miranda was born Miriam Princhek, to orthodox Jews, in the East End of London, and started off as an assistant to an English designer. She became well-known in London fashion, and started learning French at night to soon become Junior Editor of Chic magazine in Paris. At age 24, she changed her name to Miranda Priestly and replaced her rough, London accent with a sophisticated one, before spending ten years at French Runway before she was transferred to New York City.
A "Runway" issue is displayed behind Emily's desk, next to the fax machine. It features a cover with three models. It is based on the real cover of the VOGUE August 2004 issue, featuring Priscilla Presley, Lisa Marie Presley, and Riley Keough.
The novel sold over a million copies, spent ten weeks at number one, and spent a year on the New York Times bestseller list. The film was also a box-office smash hit. The novel has since been published in forty languages.
Gisele Bündchen agreed to be in the movie only if she did not play a model. Stanley Tucci was one of the last actors cast. Daniel Sunjata had originally read for Tucci's part, rather unenthusiastically since he had just finished playing a similar character, but then read the Holt part and asked if he could audition for it. Simon Baker auditioned by sending a video of himself, wearing the same self-designed green jacket he has on when he and Andrea meet for the first time.
Originally a spring release, until 20th Century Fox decided to launch it as counter-programming against Superman Returns (2006). In the end, "Devil" actually outdid "Superman" at the international box office.
Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt later reunited on Lip Sync Battle (2015) for a "Devil Wears Prada reunion battle." Hathaway and Blunt are best friends in real-life, unlike their relationship in the film.
Despite multiple designer loans, Patricia Field spent more than $1 million on costuming. She received her sole Oscar nomination for her work on this film. All costumes were sold off at an auction for research of breast cancer. Anne Hathaway bought the green dress her character gets to wear.
Meryl Streep based her character's icily calm, quiet voice on Clint Eastwood. As for Miranda's appearance, Streep thought of the famous 85-year-old model Carmen Dell'Orefice, known for her trademark white bouffant. "I wanted a cross between her and the unassailable elegance and authority of Christine Lagarde".
Emily Blunt was discovered in a parking lot. She had been auditioning for Eragon (2006), also a production by 20th Century Fox, but was turned down after multiple callbacks, when a producer from "Devil" decided to put her on an audition tape. More than 100 actresses was considered for the part and Blunt had returned to England to recover when the Fox executives offered her another audition, this time they asked her to dress more like her character. In her tape she wore jeans and flip flops.
The original screenplay was developed before the novel was published, had four credited writers, and read as a spoof of the fashion industry similar to Zoolander (2001). When the novel became a bestseller and director David Frankel got on board, the script was changed to deal with striving for excellence and personal sacrifices for a career.
Daytime scenes in Paris, with Miranda and Andy in the back of a car. The S-class Mercedes was physically cut in half, in order to get the camera angles. It was a pre-production model that the makers could never have sold, and would have been disposed of anyway.
James Naughton, who played Stephen, originally played Billy Flynn in the 1996 Broadway revival of Chicago. In the film, Andy and her father go to see Chicago on Broadway when he comes to visit Andy in New York City.
Traci Thomas (Lili) and Rich Sommer (Doug) would go on to have recurring roles on the Netflix original series Love (2016), but have no scenes together. Judd Apatow, the co-creator of that show, wrote and directed Knocked-Up (2007), a film that Anne Hathaway (Andie) was originally cast in.
Nate uses the words "ball gown." in the novel that inspired the film Edge of Tomorrow (2014), which also starred Emily Blunt, the author uses those words as well. Also, Blunt is called snooty in both films.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The idea of having Miranda appear without any make-up, in the scene where she opens up to Andrea and worries about the effect of her divorce's public disclosure on her daughters, was Meryl Streep's idea.
In the last scene between Miranda and Andy, Andy asks Miranda if the lifestyle that Miranda led wasn't what she wanted. Miranda responds, "Everyone wants this. Everyone wants to be us." The original line was, "Everyone wants to be me." However, Meryl Streep did not like this line, finding it too self-involved and dramatic. At the table reading of the script, Streep organically changed the line to "Everyone wants to be us." The line change stuck and was used in the film.
Emily Blunt has stated that she stole a snarky line of dialogue that she heard coming from a mother yelling at her child on the street. That line was, "Yeah I'm hearing 'this' (talking), and I want to hear, 'this' (silence)." It was accompanied by the hand-talking gestures that Blunt also mimicked in the scene.
The film makes quite a few changes from the book. In the novel, Miranda's tyrannical nature is more obvious. In the film, they decided to tone her character down. She is still as domineering, but they thought it would be funnier if Miranda remained calm while making impossible demands. Nigel is only a minor character in the book, and a flamboyantly gay stereotype. His role is expanded in the film, and while he is probably gay, Stanley Tucci's portrayal of it is a little more subtle (glancing at men at a fashion shoot). Also in the novel, Miranda is English, and Emily is American. In the film, they're swapped around. Emily Blunt insisted Emily should be English. Finally, Lily's accident in the book becomes Emily's. Lily becomes an alcoholic after watching the effect Runway has on Andy, but instead of being hit by a taxi like Emily, she drives into one in the book.
When David Frankel was talking to Stanley Tucci about how he should react when he finds out the job his character wanted is going to someone else, he told him to act like he had been nominated for an Oscar and just heard another actors name called. Meryl Streep was standing nearby and said "Oh, I can help with that".
In 2013, Lauren Weisberger published a sequel to the first novel, Revenge Wears Prada. Its set ten years after the first, where Andy Sachs is the editor of a wedding magazine, and engaged to a man called Max. She later has a daughter with him, called Clementine Rose. Emily Charleton works with her now. Andy and Emily saw each other at a cooking class after Emily got fired from Runway for no reason. Emily eats more since the sacking. She went to work at Harper's Bazaar as a Junior Fashion Editor. Andy and Emily became best friends and set up their own magazine together. Emily has since taken up smoking, and Andy does sometimes as well. Emily is now married to a man called Miles. Andy never got back together with Alex (Nate in the film) after seeing each other for six years. He took a teaching job in the Mississippi Delta (he became a chef in the film). Andy and Lily renewed their friendship, but Lily moved across the country to Colorado. She had spent a month in rehab, and wanted to move, because New York City had too many bad memories. Lily decided to teach an undergraduate class at Colorado University Boulder. Lily marries and becomes a mother. Andy and Lily used to do everything together, for example, prom nights; volunteering at Avon's no-kill shelter; cross-country; state fairs; drinking, et cetera. Nigel and Serena appear too, not pleased that Andy never said goodbye to them. Nigel is getting married to someone called Neil. Alex (Nate) turns up, and Andy realizes how much she's missed him. Andy hasn't set foot in a Starbucks since she left Runway. Miranda has gotten remarried. Emily was Miranda's head assistant for two and half years. Miranda doesn't remember either of them, since she's had several assistants since they left. Her latest assistant is called Charla, and she's terrified of interrupting Miranda at home. Andy has never read Runway since she quit. Miranda wants to acquire a magazine called Plunge, something Andy doesn't relish, because it would mean working for Miranda again; Emily, however, loves the idea, and reacquires all of her bad habits. Andy admits that Miranda still haunts her ten years on, and has started writing a tell-all book about what it was like working for Miranda Priestly; The Devil Wears Prada was a thinly veiled account of Lauren Weisberger's time at Vogue working for Anna Wintour. Emily has started wearing glasses. She gets a job as stylist to the stars in Los Angeles; her clients include Sofía Vergara; Stacy Keibler; Kristen Wiig; Carey Mulligan, et cetera. The book's ending hints at a reconciliation between Andy and Alex (Nate).
In the movie, Emily is hit by a cab which prevents her from going to Paris. In the novel, Emily contracts mono, which meant she couldn't go. In the book, Emily mentions how difficult it was to convince Miranda that mono was a real disease
Andy's eyeliner gets increasingly thicker during her time at Runway. It is at its' thickest when she is in Paris getting ready for dinner with Christian. A few scenes later, when she meets Nate in the restaurant after quitting Runway, she is not wearing any eyeliner at all. It has been debated whether this is to symbolize her retreat from the fashion world.