The Devil Wears Prada (film)

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The Devil Wears Prada
The Devil Wears Prada main onesheet.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Frankel
Produced by Wendy Finerman
Karen Rosenfelt
Screenplay by Aline Brosh McKenna
Based on The Devil Wears Prada 
by Lauren Weisberger
Starring Meryl Streep
Anne Hathaway
Emily Blunt
Stanley Tucci
Simon Baker
Adrian Grenier
Music by Theodore Shapiro
Cinematography Florian Ballhaus
Edited by Mark Livolsi
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s)
  • June 30, 2006 (2006-06-30)
Running time 109 minutes
Country United States, United Kingdom, France
Language English
Budget $35 million[1]
Box office $326,551,094[1]

The Devil Wears Prada is a 2006 comedy-drama film based on Lauren Weisberger's 2003 novel of the same name. This screen adaptation stars Anne Hathaway as Andrea Sachs, a college graduate who goes to New York City and lands a job as a co-assistant to powerful fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly, played by Meryl Streep. Emily Blunt and Stanley Tucci co-star, as co-assistant Emily Charlton, and Art Director Nigel, respectively.

Adrian Grenier, Simon Baker and Tracie Thoms play key supporting roles. Wendy Finerman produced and David Frankel directed the film which was distributed by 20th Century Fox. Streep's performance drew critical acclaim and earned her many award nominations, including her record-setting 14th Oscar bid, as well as the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical. Blunt also drew favorable reviews and nominations for her performance, as did many of those involved in the film's production.

The film was well received by both film critics and the public and became a surprise summer box-office hit following its June 30 North American release. The commercial success and critical praise for Streep's performance continued in foreign markets with the film leading the international box office for most of October. Likewise, the U.S. DVD release was the top rental during December. The film finished in 2006's Top 20 both in the U.S. and overseas and grossed over $300 million, mostly from its international run.

Although the movie is set in the fashion world, most designers and other fashion notables avoided appearing as themselves for fear of displeasing U.S. Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who is widely believed to have been the inspiration for Priestly. Still, many allowed their clothes and accessories to be used in the film, making it the most expensively costumed film in history.[2] Wintour later overcame her initial skepticism, saying she liked the film and Streep in particular.[3]

Plot[edit]

Andrea "Andy" Sachs (Anne Hathaway) is an aspiring journalist fresh out of Northwestern University. Despite her ridicule for the shallowness of the fashion industry, she lands a job "a million girls would kill for," junior personal assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), the icy editor-in-chief of Runway fashion magazine. Andy plans to put up with Miranda's bizarre and humiliating treatment for one year in hopes of getting a job as a reporter or writer somewhere else.

At first, Andy fumbles with her job and fits in poorly with her gossipy, fashion-conscious coworkers, especially Miranda's senior assistant Emily Charlton (Emily Blunt). However, with the help of art director Nigel (Stanley Tucci), who loans her designer clothes, she gradually learns her responsibilities and begins to dress more stylishly to show her effort and commitment to the position. She also meets attractive young writer Christian Thompson (Simon Baker), who offers to help her with her career. As she spends increasing amounts of time at Miranda's beck and call, problems arise in her relationships with her college friends and boyfriend Nate (Adrian Grenier), a chef working his way up the career ladder.

Miranda is impressed by Andy and allows her to be the one to bring the treasured "Book," a mock up of the current edition, to her home, along with her dry cleaning. She is given instructions by Emily about where to leave the items and instructs her not to speak with anyone in the home. Andy arrives at Miranda's home only to discover that the instructions she received are vague and she is unsure what to do. As she tries to figure out what to do and begins to panic, Miranda's twins falsely tell her she can leave the book at the top of the stairs just as Emily has done on many occasions. At the top of the stairs, Andy interrupts Miranda and her husband having an argument. Mortified, she leaves the book and runs out of the home. The next day, Miranda tells her that she wants the new unpublished Harry Potter book for her girls and if Andy cannot comply, she will be fired. Andy desperately attempts to find the book, nearly gives up, but ultimately obtains it through Christian's contacts. She surprises Miranda by not only finding the book but having copies sent to the girls at the train station, leaving no doubt that she accomplished Miranda's "impossible" task, thus saving her job.

One day, Andy saves Miranda from being embarrassed by Emily at a charity benefit, and Miranda rewards her by offering to take her to the fall fashion shows in Paris instead of Emily. Andy hesitates to take this privilege away from Emily, but is forced to accept the offer after being told by Miranda that she will lose her job if she declines. Andy tries to tell Emily on her way to work; however, Emily is hit by a car and Andy has to break the bad news while visiting her in the hospital.

When Andrea tells Nate she is going to Paris, he is angered by her refusal to admit that she's become what she once ridiculed, and they break up. Once there, Nigel tells Andy that he has accepted a job as creative director with rising fashion star James Holt (Daniel Sunjata) at Miranda's recommendation. Later that night, Miranda, without makeup, opens up to Andy about the effect Miranda's impending divorce will have on her daughters. Andy finally succumbs to Christian's charms, and after spending the night with him, Andy learns from him about a plan to replace Miranda with Jacqueline Follet as editor of Runway. Despite the suffering she has endured at her boss's behest, she attempts to warn Miranda.

At a luncheon later that day, however, Miranda announces that it is Jacqueline instead of Nigel who will leave Runway for Holt. Nigel remarks to Andy that though disappointed, he has to believe that his loyalty to Miranda will one day pay off. Later, when Miranda and Andy are being driven to a show, she explains to a still-stunned Andy that she was grateful for the warning but already knew of the plot to replace her and sacrificed Nigel to keep her own job. Pleased by this display of loyalty, she tells Andy that she sees some of herself in her. Andy, repulsed, said she could never do that to anyone. Miranda replies that she already did, stepping over Emily when she agreed to go to Paris. When they stop, Andy gets out and throws her cell phone into the fountain of the Place de la Concorde, leaving Miranda, Runway, and fashion behind.

Later, back in New York, she meets Nate for breakfast. He has accepted an offer to work as a sous-chef in a popular Boston restaurant. Andy is disappointed, but her hope is rejuvenated when he says they can work something out. At the film's conclusion, she is interviewing for a newspaper job. The interviewer reveals that Miranda told him she was by far her biggest disappointment, but that he would be an idiot not to hire her. In the last scene, Andy, dressed casually but with a bit more style, gives a call to Emily in Miranda's office and offers her all the clothes she received in Paris. Emily accepts the offer and tells the new assistant that she has some very large shoes to fill. After that, Andy looks over and sees Miranda getting into her car across the street. They exchange looks and Miranda gives a soft smile once inside the car. Miranda then looks at the driver and says with attitude, "Go".

Cast[edit]

  • Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly: The editor-in-chief of Runway. Feared by her staff and many in the fashion world, and powerful enough that she can discard a $300,000 photo shoot with impunity and lead a designer to redo an entire collection with the pursing of her lips. Nevertheless, she cares a lot about her twin daughters.
  • Anne Hathaway as Andrea "Andy" Sachs: a recent Northwestern University graduate and aspiring journalist who, despite no real knowledge of fashion, is hired as the junior personal assistant to the powerful and demanding editor-in-chief of Runway magazine, Miranda Priestly.
  • Emily Blunt as Emily Charlton: Miranda's haughty senior assistant, who tolerates her boss's rudeness and insults so that she may accompany her to Paris for Fall Fashion Week.
  • Stanley Tucci as Nigel: Art director for Runway and the only person at the magazine Andrea feels she can trust, despite his sometimes cutting remarks about her wardrobe and weight.
  • Simon Baker as Christian Thompson: An up-and-coming magazine writer Andrea grows increasingly attracted to, especially after his connections help her get the advance Harry Potter books Miranda requests for her daughters. He hints he could help her with her journalistic aspirations.
  • Adrian Grenier as Nate Cooper: Andrea's boyfriend, a chef at a Manhattan restaurant who eventually breaks up with her due to the strain her job places on their relationship.
  • Tracie Thoms as Lily: Andrea's close friend, who runs an art gallery.
  • Rich Sommer as Doug: A college friend of Andrea, Nate and Lily who works as a corporate research analyst. He also shows an extensive knowledge of fashion, Runway magazine, and Miranda Priestly.
  • Daniel Sunjata as James Holt: An up-and-coming designer.
  • David Marshall Grant as Richard Sachs, Andrea's father.
  • Tibor Feldman as Irv Ravitz: The board chairman of Elias-Clarke (fictional version of Conde-Nast), the company that publishes Runway.
  • Rebecca Mader as Jocelyn.
  • Gisele Bündchen as Serena: An editorial staffer at Runway and friend of Emily's.
  • Alyssa Sutherland as Clacker: An editorial staffer at Runway.
  • Ines Rivero as Clacker at elevator
  • Stephanie Szostak as Jacqueline Follet

Cameos[edit]

Production[edit]

Director David Frankel and producer Wendy Finerman had originally read The Devil Wears Prada in book proposal form.[4] It would be Frankel's second theatrical feature, and his first in over a decade. He, cinematographer Florian Ballhaus and costume designer Patricia Field, drew heavily on their experience in making Sex and the City.

Preproduction[edit]

Filming[edit]

Hathaway between takes while shooting a scene in Midtown Manhattan

Principal photography took place over 57 days in New York and Paris between October and December 2005.[5] The film's budget was $35 million.[1]

Ballhaus, at Finerman and Frankel's suggestion, composed as many shots as possible, whether interiors or exteriors, to at least partially take in busy New York street scenes in the background, to convey the excitement of working in a glamorous industry in New York. He also used a handheld camera during some of the busier meeting scenes in Miranda's office, to better convey the flow of action, and slow motion for Andrea's entrance into the office following her makeover. A few process shots were necessary, mainly to put exterior views behind windows on sets and in the Mercedes where Miranda and Andrea are having their climactic conversation.[5]

Acting[edit]

Streep made a conscious decision not to play the part as a direct impression of Wintour,[6] right down to not using an accent and making the character American rather than English ("I felt it was too restricting").[7] "I think she wanted people not to confuse the character of Miranda Priestly with Anna Wintour at all," said Frankel. "And that's why early on in the process she decided on a very different look for her and a different approach to the character."[4] The "that's all,"[8] "please bore someone else ..."[9] catchphrases; her coat-tossing on Andrea's desk[10] and discarded steak lunch[11] are retained from the novel. Streep prepared by reading a book by Wintour protégé Liz Tilberis and the memos of Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. She lost enough weight during shooting that the clothes had to be taken in.[6]

Hathaway prepared for the part by volunteering for a week as an assistant at an auction house; Frankel said she was "terrified" before starting her first scene with Streep. The older actress began her working relationship with Hathaway by saying first "I think you're perfect for the role and I'm so happy we're going to be working on this together" then warning her that was the last nice thing she would say.[12] Streep applied this philosophy to everyone else on set as well, keeping her distance from the cast and crewmembers unless it was necessary to discuss something with them.[5]

She also suggested the editorial meeting scene, which does not advance the plot but shows Miranda at work without Andrea present.[13] It was also her idea that Miranda not wear makeup in the scene where she opens up to Andrea and worries about the effect on her daughters of her divorce becoming public knowledge.[4] Both Hathaway and Emily Blunt lost weight for their roles, with Hathaway later recounting that "Emily Blunt and I would clutch at each other and cry because we were so hungry."[14]

Costuming[edit]

Frankel, who had worked with Patricia Field, before on his feature-film debut, Miami Rhapsody as well as Sex and the City, knew that what the cast wore would be of utmost importance in a movie set in the fashion industry. "My approach was to hire her and then leave the room," he joked later.[15] While none appeared onscreen, designers were very helpful to Field. Her $100,000 budget for the film's costumes was supplemented by help from friends throughout the industry. Ultimately, she believes, at least $1 million worth of clothing was used in the film, making it one of the most expensively costumed movies in cinema history.[2] The single priciest item was a $100,000 Fred Leighton necklace on Streep.[16]

Chanel asked to dress Hathaway for the film, and Dolce & Gabbana and Calvin Klein helped Field as well; with some contributions from Lebanese designer Georges Chakra.[17] Although Field avoids making Streep look like Wintour, she dresses her in generous helpings of Prada. (By Field's own estimate, 40% of the shoes on Streep's feet are Prada.) Field added that much of the audience would not be familiar with Wintour's look and that "Meryl looks nothing like Anna, so even if I wanted to copy Anna, I couldn't."[2] But, like Wintour and her Vogue predecessor Diana Vreeland, the two realized that Miranda needed a signature look, which was provided primarily by the white wig and forelock she wore as well as the clothes the two spent much time poring over look-books for.[4]

Field said she avoided prevailing fashion trends for Miranda during production in favor of a more timeless look based on Donna Karan archives and pieces by Michaele Vollbracht for Bill Blass,[18] a look she describes as "rich-lady clothes."[2] She didn't want people to easily recognize what Miranda was wearing.[19]

Emily Blunt in the appearance Field created for her character.

She contrasted Andrea and Emily by giving Andrea a "textbook" sense of style, without much risk-taking, that would suggest clothing a fashion magazine would have on hand for shoots.[2] Much of her high-fashion wardrobe is Chanel, with some Calvin Klein thrown in for good measure.[19] Blunt, on the other hand was "so on the edge she's almost falling off."[20] For her, Field chose pieces by Vivienne Westwood and Rick Owens, to suggest a taste for funkier, more "underground" clothing.[19] After the film's release, some of the looks Field chose became popular, to the filmmakers' amusement.[13][21]

Tucci praised Field's skill in putting ensembles together that were not only stylish but helped him develop his character:

She just sort of sits there with her cigarette and her hair, and she would pull stuff — these very disparate elements — and put them together into this ensemble, and you'd go, "Come on, Pat, you can't wear that with that." She'd say, "Eh, just try it on." So you'd put it on, and not only did it work, but it works on so many different levels — and it allows you to figure out who the guy is. Those outfits achieve exactly what I was trying to achieve. There's flamboyance, there's real risk-taking, but when I walk into the room, it's not flashy. It's actually very subtle. You look at it and you go, "That shirt, that tie, that jacket, that vest? What?" But it works.[22]

He found one Dries van Noten tie he wore during the film to his liking and kept it.[22]

Production design[edit]

After touring some offices of real fashion magazines, Jess Gonchor gave the Runway offices a clean, white look meant to suggest a makeup compact[5] ("the chaste beiges and whites of impervious authority," Denby called it[23]). Miranda's office bears some strong similarities to the real office of Anna Wintour, down to an octagonal mirror on the wall, photographs and a floral arrangement on the desk[24] (a similarity so marked Wintour had her office redecorated after the movie[2]). The magazine itself is very similar to Vogue, and one of the covers on the wall of the office, showing three models, is a direct homage to the August 2004 cover of that magazine.[25]

She even chose separate computer wallpaper to highlight different aspects of Blunt's and Hathaway's character: Paris's Arc de Triomphe on Blunt's suggests her aspirations to accompany Miranda to the shows there, while the floral image on Andy's suggests the natural, unassuming qualities she displays at the outset of her tenure with the magazine. For the photo of Andrea with her parents, Hathaway posed with her own mother and David Marshall Grant.[5] One of the purported Harry Potter manuscripts was later sold at auction for $586 on eBay, along with various clothing used in the film, to benefit Dress for Success, a charity which provides business clothing to help women transition into the workforce.[26]

Products[edit]

Aside from the clothing and accessories, some other well-known brands are conspicuous in the film.

The McGraw-Hill Building, home to Elias-Clarke in the film

Locations[edit]

New York[edit]
  • The News Corporation building on Sixth Avenue was used for the exteriors and lobby of Elias-Clarke's headquarters.
  • The Runway offices are partially corridors in the neighboring Fox building and partially sets.[5]
  • The Elias-Clarke cafeteria is the one at the Reuters office in Manhattan.[5]
  • Nate and Andy's apartment is on the Lower East Side.[21]
  • The restaurant Nate works at (and where Andrea, Doug and Lily eat dinner on occasion) is in TriBeCa.[21]
  • The Smith & Wollensky and its kitchen were used.[5]
  • The Calvin Klein showroom is used in the deleted scenes.[27]
  • Holt's studio is a loft used by an actual designer.[21]
  • The American Museum of Natural History was used for the exterior of the museum benefit, while the lobby of one of the Foley Square courthouses is used for the interior.[5]
  • The Priestly townhouse is on the Upper East Side and belongs to a friend of Finerman's. It had to be dressed on short notice after another one could not be used.[21]
  • The Amtrak train the twins are taking is going up the Hudson River at Haverstraw Bay.
  • Streep exits her limousine, supposedly in Paris, at 77th Street and Central Park West.
  • The New York Mirror newsroom where Andrea gets hired at the end of the film is that of the New York Sun.[5]
  • The cafe where Andy apologises to Nate was the Mayrose at 920 Broadway (near the Flatiron Building), which has since closed. On its site is the Brio restaurant.
Paris[edit]

The crew were in Paris for only two days, and used only exteriors. Streep did not make the trip.[4]

Post-production[edit]

Editing[edit]

Mark Livolsi realized, as McKenna had on the other end, that the film worked best when it focused on the Andrea-Miranda storyline. Accordingly, he cut a number of primarily transitional scenes, such as Andrea's job interview and the Runway staff's trip to Holt's studio. He also took out a scene early on where Miranda complimented Andrea. Upon reviewing them for the DVD, Frankel admitted he hadn't even seen them before, since Livolsi didn't include them in any prints he sent to the director.[27]

Frankel praised Livolsi for making the film's four key montages—the opening credits, Miranda's coat-tossing, Andrea's makeover and the Paris introduction—work. The third was particularly challenging as it uses passing cars and other obstructions to cover Hathaway's changes of outfit. Some scenes were also created in the editing room, such as the reception at the museum, where Livolsi wove B-roll footage in to keep the action flowing.[5]

Music[edit]

Composer Theodore Shapiro relied heavily on guitar and percussion, with the backing of a full orchestra, to capture a contemporary urban sound. He ultimately wrote 35 minutes of music for the film, which were performed and recorded by the Hollywood Studio Symphony, conducted by Pete Anthony.[28] His work was balanced with songs by U2 ("City of Blinding Lights", Miranda and Andrea in Paris), Madonna ("Vogue" & "Jump", Andrea's fashion montage & her first day on the job, respectively), KT Tunstall ("Suddenly I See", female montage during opening credits), Alanis Morissette ("Crazy", Central Park photo shoot), Bitter:Sweet ("Our Remains," Andrea picks up James Holt's sketches for Miranda; Bittersweet Faith, Lily's art show), Azure Ray ("Sleep," following the breakdown of her relationship with Nate), Jamiroquai ("Seven Days in Sunny June," Andrea and Christian meet at James Holt's party) among others. Frankel had wanted to use "City of Blinding Lights" in the film since he had used it as a soundtrack to a video montage of Paris scenes he had put together after scouting locations there.[5] Likewise, Field had advocated just as strongly for "Vogue."[19]

The soundtrack album was released on July 11 by Warner Music. It includes all the songs mentioned above (except Madonna's "Jump") as well as a suite of Shapiro's themes. Among the tracks not included is "Suddenly I See," which disappointed many fans.[29] It became popular as a result of the film although the single did not crack the U.S. Top Forty. It nonetheless became a popular radio hit.[30]

Pre-release and marketing[edit]

Two decisions by 20th Century Fox's marketing department that were meant to be preliminary wound up being integral to promoting the film. The first was the creation of the red stiletto heel ending in a pitchfork as the film's teaser poster.[31] It was so successful and effective, becoming almost "iconic" (in Finerman's words), that it was used for the actual release poster as well. It became a brand, and was eventually used on every medium related to the film — the tie-in reprinting of the novel and the soundtrack and DVD covers as well.[4]

The studio also put together a trailer of scenes and images strictly from the first three minutes of the film, in which Andrea meets Miranda for the first time, to be used at previews and film festivals until they could create a more standard trailer drawing from the whole film. But, again, this proved so effective with early audiences it was retained as the main trailer, since it created anticipation for the rest of the film without giving anything away.[4]

Reception[edit]

The stars of The Devil Wears Prada at the Venice premiere, front row: (left to right) Anne Hathaway, Stanley Tucci, Lisa Tucci and Meryl Streep. Valentino can be seen behind and between Stanley and Lisa Tucci, and Beatrice Borromeo is partly visible to Stanley Tucci's left.

Critical response[edit]

Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 62 out of 100, based on 40 reviews.[32] The film holds a 76% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 185 reviews.[33] Initial reviews of the film focused primarily on Streep's performance, praising her for making an extremely unsympathetic character far more complex than she had been in the novel. "With her silver hair and pale skin, her whispery diction as perfect as her posture, Ms. Streep's Miranda inspires both terror and a measure of awe," wrote A. O. Scott in The New York Times. "No longer simply the incarnation of evil, she is now a vision of aristocratic, purposeful and surprisingly human grace."[34] Kyle Smith agreed at the New York Post: "The snaky Streep wisely chooses not to imitate Vogue editrix Anna Wintour, the inspiration for the book, but creates her own surprisingly believable character."[35] "Wintour should be flattered by Streep's portrayal," agreed Jack Mathews in the Daily News.[36]

David Edelstein, in New York magazine, criticized the film as "thin", but praised Streep for her "fabulous minimalist performance."[37] J. Hoberman, Edelstein's onetime colleague at The Village Voice, called the movie an improvement on the book and said Streep was "the scariest, most nuanced, funniest movie villainess since Tilda Swinton's nazified White Witch [in 2005's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe]."[38]

Blunt, too, earned some favorable notice. "[She] has many of the movie's best lines and steals nearly every scene she's in," wrote Clifford Pugh in the Houston Chronicle.[39] Other reviewers and fans concurred.[40][41]Roger Ebert gave the movie "thumbs down,"[42] while Richard Roeper gave it a "thumbs up."[43] While all critics were in agreement about Streep and Blunt, they pointed to other weaknesses, particularly in the story. Reviewers familiar with Weisberger's novel assented to her judgment that McKenna's script greatly improved upon it.[23][34] A rare exception was Angela Baldassare at The Microsoft Network Canada, who felt the film needed more of the nastiness others had told her was abundant in the novel.[44]

David Denby summed up this response in his New Yorker review: "The Devil Wears Prada tells a familiar story, and it never goes much below the surface of what it has to tell. Still, what a surface!"[23] Reactions to Hathaway's performance were not as unanimous as for many of her costars. Denby said "she suggests, with no more than a panicky sidelong glance, what Weisberger takes pages to describe."[23] On the other hand, to Baldassare, she "barely carrie[d] the load."[44]

Depiction of fashion industry[edit]

Some media outlets allowed their present or former fashion reporters to weigh in on how realistic the movie was. Their responses varied widely. Booth Moore at Los Angeles Times chided Field for creating a "fine fashion fantasy with little to do with reality," a world that reflects what outsiders think fashion is like rather than what the industry actually is. Unlike the movie, in her experience fashionistas were less likely to wear makeup and more likely to value edgier dressing styles (that would not include toe rings).[45] "If they want a documentary, they can watch the History Channel", retorted Field.[46] Another newspaper fashion writer, Hadley Freeman of The Guardian, likewise complained the film was awash in the sexism and clichés that, to her, beset movies about fashion in general.[47]

Charla Krupp, the executive editor of SHOP, Inc., says "It's the first film I've seen that got it right ... [It] has the nuances of the politics and the tension better than any film — and the backstabbing and sucking-up."[16] Joanna Coles, the editor of the U.S. edition of Marie Claire, agreed:

The film brilliantly skewers a particular kind of young woman who lives, breathes, thinks fashion above all else ... those young women who are prepared to die rather than go without the latest Muse bag from Yves Saint Laurent that costs three times their monthly salary. It's also accurate in its understanding of the relationship between the editor-in-chief and the assistant.[16]

Ginia Bellefante, former fashion reporter for The New York Times, also agreed, calling it "easily the truest portrayal of fashion culture since Unzipped" and giving it credit for depicting the way fashion had changed in the early 21st century.[48] Her colleague Ruth La Ferla found a different opinion from industry insiders after a special preview screening. Most found the fashion in the movie too safe and the beauty too overstated, more in tune with the 1980s than the 2000s. "My job is to present an entertainment, a world people can visit and take a little trip," responded Field.[46]

Nigel's homosexuality[edit]

Stanley Tucci told the gay magazine Out that he played the part with no doubt whatsoever that the character was gay.[22] While many viewers, gay and straight, shared the assumption, nothing in the film directly suggests his sexual orientation other than a brief glance he makes at an attractive man.[49] In the novel, he, and the other male Runway staffers are proudly homosexual, often described as flamboyant,[50] freely discussing their sex lives,[51] and sometimes checking each other out.[52]

There is none of this in the film. Instead, Nigel tells Andrea that, as a child, he told his family he was attending soccer practice when he was really taking sewing lessons, and read Runway under the covers of his bed at night with a flashlight. Finerman also says that during his first scene in the film, his visit to Andrea's hotel room in Paris to celebrate his imminent promotion, they had not yet decided how "extravagant" he would be.[21] The film also gives no indication that he is involved in any male/female marriage or relationship with a woman. Jeffy and James, two of the gay men in the novel, were eliminated, leading a viewer, David Poland, to point out this aspect of the film on his blog, The Hot Button, but also noted that it was part of a general desexualization that led him to call the movie No Sex in the City.[53] Queer Beacon found Tucci's portrayal refreshingly free of overdone stereotypes,[54] while another gay blogger expressed his displeasure that a movie about an industry well known for its openly gay men seemed so determined to avoid the subject.[55]

Controversy notwithstanding, readers of Gay.com voted the film the best of 2006.[56] William Maltese, from AfterElton.com, called it "refreshing that the jokes in Devil do not come at Nigel's expense or because of his sexuality."[57] It is also mentioned that Nigel is key for Andy's transformation from ugly duck to swan that propels her into the second half of the film.

Queer Beacon also wondered if Doug might be gay, since he is more aware of Miranda's importance to fashion than Andrea; also, later, when Lily takes him from Andrea at the gallery to introduce him to "someone he might find interesting," she doesn't specify that person's gender.[54] Sommer wrote that Doug was not written to be gay and was merely based on a friend of McKenna's.[58]

Commercial[edit]

On its opening weekend, the film was on 2,847 screens. It grossed $27 million, second only to the much bigger-budget Superman Returns, and added $13 million more during the first week. This success led Fox to add 35 more screens the next week, the widest domestic distribution the film enjoyed. Although it was never any week's top-grossing film, it remained in the top 10 through July. Its theatrical run continued through December 10, shortly before the DVD release.[59]

It had a very successful run in theaters, making nearly $125 million in the United States and Canada and over $325 million worldwide,[1] a career high for both Meryl Streep, until Mamma Mia was released in 2008 and surpassed it, and Anne Hathaway, until Alice in Wonderland surpassed it in 2010 (as well as Get Smart in 2008, domestically).[60]

Anna Wintour, on whom Miranda is supposedly based, was at first skeptical of the film but later came to appreciate it.

Anna Wintour[edit]

Anna Wintour attended the film's New York premiere, wearing Prada. Her friend Barbara Amiel reported that she said shortly afterward that the movie would go straight to DVD.[61] But in an interview with Barbara Walters that aired the day the DVD was released, she called the film "really entertaining" and said she appreciated the "decisive" nature of Streep's portrayal. "Anything that makes fashion entertaining and glamorous and interesting is wonderful for our industry. So I was 100 percent behind it."[3] Streep said Wintour was "probably more upset by the book than the film."[62]

International[edit]

Weisberger's novel had been translated into 37 different languages, giving the movie a strong potential foreign audience. It would ultimately deliver 60 percent of the film's gross.

The Devil Wears Prada topped the charts on its first major European release weekend on October 9, after a strong September Oceania and Latin America opening. It would be the highest-grossing film that weekend in Britain, Spain and Russia, taking in $41.5 million overall.[63] Continued strong weekends as it opened across the rest of Europe helped it remain atop the overseas charts for the rest of the month.[64][65][66] By the end of the year only its Chinese opening remained; it was released there on February 28, 2007.

Most reviews from the international press echoed the domestic response, heaping praise on Streep and the other actors, but calling the whole film "predictable."[67] The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw, who found the film "moderately entertaining," took Blunt to task, calling her a "real disappointment ... strained and awkward."[68] In The Independent, Anthony Quinn said Streep "may just have given us a classic here" and concluded that the film as a whole was "as snappy and juicy as fresh bubblegum."[69]

In most markets the title remained unchanged; either the English was used or a translation into the local language. The only exceptions were Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela, where it was El diablo que viste Prada and El diablo se viste a la moda. In Poland, the title was Diabeł ubiera się u Prady which roughly means "The Devil dresses (itself) at Prada" rather than "The Devil Wears Prada."In italian the title was ″Il diavolo veste Prada" which roughly means "The devil wears Prada". In Turkey, the title was "Şeytan Marka Giyer," roughly translated as "The Devil Wears Brand-Names." In Romania, the title was "Diavolul se îmbracă de la Prada," which roughly means "The Devil Dresses itself from Prada", the same construction being found in the French title, "Le Diable s'habille en Prada". The Japanese version is titled "プラダを着た悪魔", which translates as "The devil wearing Prada".

Awards and nominations[edit]

Three months after the film's North American release (October 2006), Frankel and Weisberger jointly accepted the first Quill Variety Blockbuster Book to Film Award. A committee of staffers at the magazine made the nominations and chose the award winner. Editor Peter Bart praised both works.

The Devil Wears Prada' is an energetically directed, perfect-fit of a film that has surprised some in the industry with its box-office legs. It has delighted the country, much as did Lauren Weisberger's book, which is still going strong on several national bestseller lists[70]

The film was honored by the National Board of Review as one of the year's ten best.[71] The American Film Institute gave the film similar recognition.[72]

The film received ample attention from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association when its Golden Globe Award nominations were announced on December 14, 2006. The film itself was in the running for Best Picture (Comedy/Musical) and Supporting Actress (for Blunt). Streep later won the Globe for Best Actress (Musical/Comedy).[73]

On January 4, 2007, her fellow members of the Screen Actors Guild nominated Streep for Best Actress as well.[74] Four days later, at the National Society of Film Critics awards, Streep won Best Supporting Actress for her work both in Devil and A Prairie Home Companion.[75] McKenna earned a nomination from the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay on January 11, 2007.[76]

The following day, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced its 2006 nominations; Blunt, Field, McKenna and Streep were all among the nominees, as were makeup artist and hairstylists Nicki Ledermann and Angel de Angelis.[77]

On January 23, 2007 Streep received her 14th Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, lengthening her record from 13 for most nominations by any actor male or female. Field received a Costume Design nomination as well.[78] Neither won, but Blunt and Hathaway presented the last mentioned award, amusing the audience by slipping into their characters for a few lines, nervously asking which of them had gotten Streep her cappuccino. Streep played along with a stern expression before smiling.[79]

Proposed television series[edit]

The success of the film led to a proposed, but unrealised, American dramedy series that was in contention to air for the 2007–08 television season on Fox. It was to be produced by Fox Television Studios.

The series was to be based on the book and 2006 film (which was produced by 20th Century Fox), but with the premise adjusted for the confines of a traditional half-hour or one-hour dramedy with a single camera set-up. Fox TV president Angela Shapiro-Mathes told Variety: "The TV series will not be exactly like the movie or the book. The reason you loved the book and the reason you loved the movie was these were characters you really cared about in a world you wanted to learn more about. You can't read that book and not feel that the two characters are ones that you want to keep following. It's something you can get really passionate about."[80] The project never got to the pilot stage, and was shelved.

Home media [edit]

The DVD was released on December 12, 2006 and has, in addition to the film, the following extras:[81]

  • Audio commentary from Frankel, editor Mark Livolsi, Field, screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna, producer Wendy Finerman and cinematographer Florian Ballhaus.
  • A five-minute blooper reel featuring, among other shots, unintentional pratfalls by Hathaway due to the high stiletto heels she had to wear. It also includes gag shots such as a chubby crewmember in loose-fitting clothing walking along the runway at the fashion show, and Streep announcing "I have some nude photographs to show you" at the Paris brunch scene.[82] Unlike most blooper reels, it is not a collection of sequential takes but rather a fast-paced montage set to music from the film with many backstage shots and a split screenshot allowing the viewer to compare the actual shot with the blooper. The many shots of actors touching their noses are, Rich Sommer says, a game played to assign blame for ruined takes.[83]
  • Five featurettes
    • "Trip to the Big Screen", a 12-minute look at the film's pre-production, discussing the changes made from the novel, how Frankel was chosen to direct and other issues.
    • "NYC and Fashion", a look at the real New York fashion scene and how it is portrayed in the film.
    • "Fashion Visionary Patricia Field", a profile of the film's costume designer.
    • "Getting Valentino", covering how the designer was persuaded to appear as himself in the film.
    • "Boss from Hell", a short segment on difficult, nightmarish superiors like Priestly.
  • Fifteen deleted scenes, with commentary from Frankel and Livolsi available (see below).
  • The theatrical trailer, and promotional spots for the soundtrack album and other releases.

Closed captions in French and Spanish are also available. The DVD is available in both full screen and widescreen versions. Pictures of the cast and the tagline "Hell on Heels" were added to the red-heel image for the cover. It was released in the UK on February 5, 2007.

A Blu-ray Disc of the film was released simultaneously with the DVD. The Blu-ray maintains the same features as the DVD; however, the featurettes were dropped and replaced with a subtitle pop-up trivia track that can be watched by itself or along with the audio commentary.[84]

Reception[edit]

Immediately upon its December 12 release, it became the top rental in the USA. It held that spot through the end of the year, adding another $26.5 million to the film's grosses. To date the film has made $95,886,194 in DVD sales.[85] The following week it made its debut on the DVD sales charts in third position.[86]

Deleted scenes[edit]

Among the deleted scenes are some that added more background information to the story, with commentary available by the editor and director. Most were deleted by Livolsi in favor of keeping the plot focused on the conflict between Miranda and Andrea, often without consulting Frankel.[27]

Frankel generally approved of his editor's choices, but differed on one scene, showing Andrea on her errand to the Calvin Klein showroom. He felt that scene showed Andrea's job was about more than running personal errands for Miranda.[27]

See also[edit]

  • The September Issue; a 2009 documentary film which follows Anna Wintour prior to the release of the September 2007 Vogue issue.

Works cited[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]