Arts & Culture

50 Things You Never Knew About the Filming of The Devil Wears Prada

"Can you please spell Gabbana?"
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It's been 11 years since the premiere of The Devil Wears Prada and fans are still finding opportunities to recite the iconic quotes any chance they get. ("Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.") But do you know what went into the iconic movie? Here, 50 things you never knew about the making of the film. That is all.

THE MOVIE IS BASED ON A "TRUE" STORY


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The movie is based on a book written by Lauren Weisberger, the former assistant to the editor-in-chief of Vogue, Anna Wintour.

STUDIOS FOUGHT OVER THE RIGHTS TO THE BOOK

Before the book even hit the shelves in 2003, many studios were fighting over the rights to turn it into a film. They only had 100 pages to go off of, but were confident in the book's premise. Fox's former president, Carla Hacken, told Variety, "I was the first person to read it at Fox 2000. I thought Miranda Priestly was one of the greatest villains ever. I remember we aggressively went in and scooped it up."

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FOX STARTED WORKING ON THE FILM BEFORE THE BOOK WAS COMPLETED

However, after the book was published, they started over in order incorporate key details they missed.

IT TOOK FOUR WRITERS TO GET THE SCREENPLAY RIGHT

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At first, they tried to adapt the film straight from the book, going through four writers trying to do so. Then they realized they needed to manipulate the story for the film. "If you study the book," said Carla Hacken, "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."

DIRECTOR DAVID FRANKEL ORIGINALLY SAID NO TO DIRECTING THE FILM

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"It seemed un-directable to me," said Frankel. "It was a satire rather than a love story."

FRANKEL WASN'T SATISFIED WITH THE PLOT

"Miranda was a witch, and Andy's motivation was to get her revenge," said Frankel. "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?"

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AS A RESULT, THEY DECIDED TO WRITE A NEW SCRIPT

Rather than emulate the theme of the book, the writers decided that the film's theme would be about everything women needed to forfeit in order to achieve success at a fashion magazine.

CASTING MIRANDA'S KIDS WAS EXTREMELY DIFFICULT

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The crew went through hundreds of twins before they found the right pair for the roles.

GISELE B√úNDCHEN WAS MENTIONED IN THE BOOK


She was mentioned in the book for giving Miranda a Christmas present.

GISELE AGREED TO ACT IN THE FILM UNDER ONE CONDITION

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Gisele would act in the film as long as her character was not a model.

THOMAS LENNON WAS OFFERED THE PART OF NIGEL


Lennon had to turn down the role due to conflicts with filming Reno 911.

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STANLEY TUCCI ACCEPTED THE OFFER TO PLAY NIGEL 72 HOURS BEFORE STEPPING ON SET

For months, the team struggled to find an actor fit to play Nigel. At the very last minute, they came across Tucci. He was on set playing Nigel only seventy-two hours after his audition.

CLAIRE DANES AUDITIONED FOR THE ROLE OF ANDY


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The production team apparently felt she wasn't fit to play the part.

JULIETTE LEWIS ALSO AUDITIONED FOR ANDY


The crew decided that Lewis wasn't quite right for the role.

EMILY'S CHARACTER IS REPORTEDLY BASED ON PLUM SYKES


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Sykes is now a writer and was a former assistant to Anna Wintour.

FRANKEL AUDITIONED 100 GIRLS BEFORE HE FOUND EMILY


Emily was in Los Angeles auditioning for Eragon when Prada auditions were taking place. At the last minute, her agent put her on a tape for Prada. She flew home thinking all of her auditions were unsuccessful. But Frankel loved her, and called her house to offer her the part. Her mom picked up and said she was out at a bar (she was upset about the audition). "I was in some dive club in London," Blunt said. "I called him back from the bathroom. He said, 'Listen I would have cast you off the tape, but the studio wants to see you one more time. Can you do what you did but dress the part more?'"

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THE WRITERS AND DIRECTOR DIDN'T HAVE ANYONE ELSE IN MIND TO PLAY MIRANDA

They dreamed of having Meryl Streep, but didn't think it would actually happen. "We had talked about Meryl a little bit, but I dare not allow myself to dream," said writer, Aline Brosh McKenna.

MERYL REFUSED TO PLAY THE ROLE UNLESS THEY RAISED HER SALARY

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"The offer was to my mind slightly, if not insulting, not perhaps reflective of my actual value to the project," said Streep. "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."

BEFORE THIS ROLE, ANNE HATHAWAY HAD ONLY STARRED IN CHILDREN'S FILMS

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Prior to The Devil Wears Prada, Anne starred in Ella Enchanted and The Princess Diaries. This role helped to shift the direction of her career.

THE TEAM WANTED RACHEL MCADAMS TO PLAY ANDY

Following her major success in The Notebook and Mean Girls, the team pushed hard for McAdams. She turned them down, saying that she wanted to take a break from mainstream material.

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ANNE WROTE "HIRE ME" ON CARLA HACKEN'S DESK

Right after her meeting with the Executive Vice President of Fox, Anne wrote the words in the sand of a Zen garden to express her passion for the role.

TO PREPARE FOR THE ROLE, ANNE VOLUNTEERED AS AN ASSISTANT


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Anne felt that she need real experience as an assistant to get into character. She volunteered at an auction house.

THIS WAS THE THIRD TIME ANNE'S CHARACTER'S BEST FRIEND IN A FILM WAS NAMED LILY


In Ella Enchanted and The Princess Diaries, Anne's best friend's character was also named Lily.

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IT TOOK MANY TAKES TO COMPLETE THE COAT MONTAGE

Remember the montage of Miranda slamming her coats down on Andy's desk? "It was a hard day for Meryl," Blunt recalls. "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."

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SHOOTING IN NEW YORK WAS EXTREMELY CHALLENGING

Given their very tight budget, the production team couldn't get permission to film at the MoMA or Bryant Park, which were integral locations to the script.

THE MCGRAW-HILL BUILDING WAS USED AS THE FRONT OF THE ELIAS-CLARKE BUILDING

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The front of the Elias-Clarke building (the home of the magazine in the film) was filmed at the McGraw-Hill building in Manhattan.

THE TEAM STRUGGLED TO FIND AN APARTMENT IN MANHATTAN TO USE AS THE SET OF MIRANDA'S HOME

Ultimately, the townhouse that was used as Miranda's home belonged to a friend of the producer.

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FRANKEL WORRIED THEIR BUDGET WOULDN'T ALLOW THEM TO SHOOT IN PARIS

In a moment of true desperation, the directors and producers sent Fox a sizzle reel to convince them to fund the trip. Thankfully, it was met with a positive response, and they were able to fly to Paris.

MERYL DIDN'T SHOOT IN PARIS

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While Anne Hathaway and Simon Baker flew out to Paris, Fox thought it would be too expensive to fly Streep out. Instead, her "Paris" scenes were filmed in the U.S.

THE COST OF THE COSTUMES WAS ONE MILLION DOLLARS

Patricia Field designed all the outfits and all the pieces came from major designers.

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ANNE STRUGGLED DURING THE FILMING

"She was living with a guy who was a felon and embezzler. He didn't want her to be working at all; he hated that she worked night," said Frankel. "She was always fragile when we shot late."

THE COVER FEATURED HERE WAS BASED OFF OF A REAL COVER

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This cover of Runway was based off of Vogue's August 2004 issue that featured Priscilla Presley, Lisa Marie Presley, and Riley Keough.

THE CALL IN THE LAST SCENE ISN'T REPRESENTED CORRECTLY ON THE PHONE

In the last scene, Andy receives a call from Miranda. However, if you look closely at the phone, you'll see that the call on the screen is actually outgoing rather than incoming.

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VALENTINO WAS THE ONLY DESIGNER WHO MADE AN APPEARANCE

While the characters wore pieces from many other designers in the film, Valentino was the only one with a cameo. Some speculate that Anna Wintour threatened to ban any designers who made an appearance from being featured in the pages of Vogue.

MERYL'S DAUGHTER WAS CUT FROM THE FILM

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Streep's daughter, Mamie Gummer, played a Starbucks barista in a scene that was eventually cut.

THE OTHER ACTORS EXPECTED MERYL TO PLAY MIRANDA IN A LOUD, AGGRESSIVE WAY

"I think we all had an idea of what Miranda would sound like," Hathaway said. "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."

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MERYL'S PORTRAYAL OF MIRANDA WAS NOT BASED OFF OF ANNA WINTOUR

"The voice I got from Clint Eastwood," Streep said. "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."

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MERYL STREEP KEPT HER DISTANCE FROM HER COSTARS ON SET

Streep feared that close relationships with her costars would jeopardize the icy rapports she hoped to maintain between Miranda and the other characters. On the first day of filming, she said to Anne, "I think you're perfect for the role. I'm so happy we're going to be working together. That's the last nice thing I'll say to you."

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THE MOVIE PREMIERED BEFORE FASHION WEEK WAS POPULAR AMONGST THE PUBLIC

Before fans traveled to Paris, Milan, and New York, fashion week was generally limited to members of the fashion industry. Some credit Prada for the new found obsession.

MERYL DONATED ALL OF HER COSTUMES TO CHARITY

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Miranda's high-end outfits were worth a hefty sum, which Streep chose to donate instead of keeping for herself.

ACCORDING TO ANNE HATHAWAY, THE FILM WAS A MAJOR SUCCESS BECAUSE IT TOLD A UNIVERSALLY RELATABLE STORY

"Everybody has a story like this," she said, referring to her character's experience with her boss.

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FOX DECIDED TO LAUNCH THE MOVIE AS COUNTER-PROGRAMMING AGAINST 'SUPERMAN'

The Devil Wears Prada ended up doing better than Superman at the box office.

THE MOVIE EARNED ALMOST EIGHT TIMES WHAT IT COST TO MAKE

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The film's budget was 41 million and it went on to earn 326 million in box office sales.

FANS RECITE EMILY BLUNT'S QUOTES TO HER ON A WEEKLY BASIS

"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," she said.

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THE TEAM DID NOT EXPECT THE FILM TO BE A MAJOR SUCCESS

The challenges the team faced on a daily basis filming the movie further enforced their fears. "For a lot of us, it was our first big thing," Frankel said of the film's struggles. "We knew we were on very thin ice. It was possible this could be the end of the road for us."

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THE CAST BECAME (AND STILL IS) EXTREMELY CLOSE

"Ten years after The Devil Wears Prada, Stanley is in my actual family," said Blunt. "How frightening is that? He's married to my sister. All thanks to The Devil Wears Prada." Blunt invited Stanley to her wedding after becoming close friends on the movie and the rest is history.

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THE FILM IMPACTED BLUNT'S CAREER MOST PROFOUNDLY

Emily Blunt went to the same coffee shop every morning without being recognized. The Devil Wears Prada completely changed that. "The day the movie came out," Blunt said, "all the people in the bakery suddenly knew who I was. It was surreal."

Hathaway also credits the movie for launching Blunt's career. "I've never witnessed a star being born before," Hathaway said. "That's the first time I watched it happen."

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MERYL CHANGED THE LAST LINE OF THE FILM

She made a slight, but profound edit to the last line. She switched it from, "Everybody wants to be me" to "Everybody wants to be us."

THE PROP USED FOR THE HARRY POTTER MANUSCRIPT WAS SOLD IN AN ONLINE AUCTION

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People apparently would pay large sums of money to get their hands on a piece of the film. This prop went for $586 and the proceeds went to charity.

THE CAST ISN'T INTERESTED IN A SEQUEL

While there is a second book, some members of the cast don't support the idea of a second film. "I'm not sure if could is the right question," Hathaway said. "Should there be? 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."

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From: Marie Claire US

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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