It’s “hard to imagine” that The Devil Wears Prada cast and “iconic characters” could have been any other actors than the ones who got the parts in the blockbuster movie. Ten years later, “icy fashion editor Miranda Priestly” is Meryl Streep as far as most fans are concerned, and no one can even think about Anne Hathaway or Emily Blunt without at least momentarily seeing their Devil Wears Prada characters.
— E! News (@enews) June 24, 2016
But it turns out that the three women all nearly didn’t play the roles in The Devil Wears Prada cast that are so closely associated with them now. People magazine reports that Variety interviewed Streep, Hathaway, and Blunt to find out the backstory about how they were hired, and who else might have been in the running. The “tell-all” covered a lot of ground in honor of 2006 film’s 10th anniversary this year.
Streep’s fabulous portrayal of Priestly almost didn’t happen, even though Meryl was “immediately” interested in the film and knew it was going to be a “major hit.” It wasn’t the script that put her off accepting the part at first. The problem was that the pay was less than Streep expected and not “exactly up to snuff.”
“The offer was to my mind slightly, if not insulting, not perhaps reflective of my actual value to the project.”
— KimmyQueen (@Kimmy1Queen) June 25, 2016
Streep told Variety that she had a “goodbye moment,” meaning that she was ready to walk away without regret. When the negotiators for Prada realized that she meant it, “they doubled the offer.” A few years earlier, Meryl might have accepted the lower offer instead of walking. She explained that up until then, she was much more likely to give in even though she didn’t want to.
“I was 55, and I had just learned, at a very late date, how to deal on my own behalf.”
Not even Meryl Streep is safe from the wage gap 'The Devil Wears Prada' https://t.co/DKqEVVBjMn
— TIME.com (@TIME) June 25, 2016
By that time in her career, Streep had such a reputation that the producers couldn’t see who else could play the role. Meryl was the only one they saw as able to make it work, so she had some strong bargaining points. Carla Hacken, who was the executive vice president for Fox 2000 at the time, put their position clearly.
“Please God – let it be Meryl.”
For Hathaway, the situation was completely the reverse. With only “family-friendly” shows like The Princess Diaries and Ella Enchanted on her short resume, she was worried about convincing The Devil Wears Prada producers that she could carry off Andy Sachs, a “naive, starry-eyed journalism school graduate.” For Devil fans, Anne seems the perfect choice, but the producers were looking for someone more established, with a reputation for more adult roles. They offered it several times to Mean Girls star, Rachel McAdams.
— Dailymotion (@DailymotionUSA) June 25, 2016
Hathaway had a few tricks up her sleeve and desperately wanted the role of Andy. One day, she even took a moment at Hacken’s zen garden to write the words “hire me” in the sand. It’s hard to say whether Anne’s determination would have won her the part if McAdams hadn’t wanted to move “away from mainstream material” at that time. Anne was willing to wait.
“I had to be patient. I wasn’t the first choice.”
Crazy tidbit in this 10th anniversary at "The Devil Wears Prada": Rachel McAdams was the first choice for Andy: https://t.co/BZQFPMrQ2A
— Sam Stryker (@sbstryker) June 23, 2016
Hathaway’s patience paid off in a big way, because eventually the studio stopped pursuing an uninterested McAdams, and called Anne for the part.
Hathaway said that she was so excited, she didn’t even consider that she was only half-dressed when she ran out to the living room “screaming – I got The Devil Wears Prada! I got The Devil Wears Prada!”
Emily Blunt and her British accent seem perfect in retrospect too, but the accent was an unintentional side effect of Emily’s previous audition for Eragon. When Eragon didn’t work out for Blunt, she was “devastated,” but the Devil Wears Prada news more than made up for the loss of Eragon. Prada“catapulted” both Blunt and Hathaway to superstar careers, and the upcoming June 30 anniversary of Devil is also an anniversary of their first steps into stardom.
The way Emily Blunt says "YOU EAT CARBS" in The Devil Wears Prada still kills me. She's severely underrated
— jon (@prasejeebus) June 12, 2016
[Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]