Ten surprising things you never knew about 'The Devil Wears Prada'

When The Devil Wears Prada was released 13 years ago, it became an instant classic. The comedy - which made Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt into A-listers, and gave Meryl Streep one of her most iconic roles - made $485 million (US$326 million) at the worldwide box office, against a modest budget of $61m (US$41m).

But the film almost looked very different from the end result we know and love today. From casting changes to surprising cameos, here are 10 surprising facts about The Devil Wears Prada.

1. The studio wanted Rachel McAdams to play Andy

Hathaway earned critical acclaim for her portrayal of aspiring writer Andy - but Fox initially wanted a bigger movie star to play the role. According to Variety, Fox pursued Rachel McAdams to play Andy, following her successful turns in The Notebook and Mean Girls. McAdams turned down the role multiple times, saying she wanted to step away from mainstream material. Actresses Claire Danes and Juliette Lewis also reportedly auditioned for the role.

2. Director David Frankel auditioned 100 girls for the role of Emily

Per Variety, Frankel struggled to find the right actress for Emily, the sassy first assistant to Miranda Priestley. Emily Blunt was in Los Angeles auditioning for the female lead in the 2007 fantasy epic Eragon, which she eventually missed out on, when a casting agent asked her to tape for Prada. When Blunt was back in London, disheartened with her experience in LA, Frankel called her and asked her to read for the part again. The role was initially meant to be American, but Blunt's sharp British accent was kept for the film.

3. Blunt still has people quote her lines back to her

Blunt told Variety: "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." Her husband John Krasinski even revealed to E! News in 2016 that he has seen the film 75 times.

4. Meryl Streep demanded her salary be doubled

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

5. Stanley Tucci was cast as Nigel just 72 hours before filming

Nigel has become one of Stanley Tucci's most memorable roles - but the production struggled to find an actor for the part for months. Vulture revealed the role was initially offered to Thomas Lennon, who had to pass as he was filming Reno 911. Tucci eventually accepted the role just 72 hours before his first appearance as the character.

6. Tucci is now married to Blunt's sister

After becoming friends on set, Blunt invited Tucci to her wedding. There, he met his now-wife Felicity - Blunt's sister. "Stanley is in my actual family," Blunt told Variety. "How frightening is that? He's married to my sister ... All thanks to The Devil Wears Prada."

7. Streep's daughter taped a cameo that was cut from the film

Meryl Streep's daughter, actress Mamie Gummer, reportedly taped a cameo in the film as a Starbucks server - but her scene didn't make it into the final cut.

8. Hathaway had a hard time during filming

According to Frankel, Hathaway was going through difficult personal issues during the shoot. "Annie was very emotional," he told Variety. "She was living with a guy [her ex-boyfriend Raffaello Follieri], who was a felon and embezzler. He didn't want her to be working at all; he hated that she worked nights. She was always fragile when we shot late."

9. Streep kept her distance from her co-stars

To make her icy character feel authentic, Streep purposefully didn't talk much to her co-stars, who otherwise became close friends. She surprised everyone with her performance: "I think we all had an idea of what Miranda would sound like," Hathaway told Variety. "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."

10. Streep based Miranda's voice off Clint Eastwood

For Miranda's quiet, icy villainy, Streep took inspiration from actor/director Clint Eastwood and director Mike Nichols (Angels in America). "The voice I got from Clint Eastwood," she told Variety. "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 cruellest 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."

This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.