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The Devil Wears Prada was a hit when it debuted in 2006. Since then it’s become something of a pop culture phenomenon. Lines from Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci, Anne Hathaway, and Emily Blunt’s characters are still quoted by fans. But back when the movie was searching for a director, filmmaker David Frankel wanted nothing to do with it.  

‘The Devil Wears Prada’ is based on a book 

Stanley Tucci, Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, and David Frankel at the Venice Film Festival
Stanley Tucci, Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, and David Frankel at the Venice Film Festival | C. Uncle/FilmMagic

Andy Sachs’ (Hathaway) experience working for a demanding boss came straight from a book. Lauren Weisberger’s novel, The Devil Wears Prada, came out in 2003. The author briefly worked as the assistant to Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, who is supposedly the inspiration for Miranda Priestly, editor-in-chief of the fictional fashion magazine, Runway.

According to Variety, studio executives began fighting for movie rights to The Devil Wears Prada even before the book hit shelves. Ultimately, 20th Century Fox secured the rights to adapt the book for the big screen. 

David Frankel felt the movie ‘was a satire rather than a love story’

When Fox approached David Frankel about directing The Devil Wears Prada, the filmmaker wasn’t enthusiastic about the project. He’d directed one feature film and episodes of Entourage and Sex and the City

His agent set up a call to discuss the film and Frankel canceled. 

“It seemed undirectable to me,” he told Variety of The Devil Wears Prada. “It was a satire rather than a love story.” 

Frankel finally sat down with producer Wendy Finerman. He explained his reservations, saying he didn’t care for the plot. 

“Miranda was a witch, and Andy’s motivation was to get her revenge,” he said. “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?”

Ultimately, Frankel signed on to direct The Devil Wears Prada but the script would undergo some major changes before the start of filming.

‘The Devil Wears Prada’ script went through multiple rewriters

Fox reworked the script to include more details from the book when it became a bestseller but the end product isn’t an exact copy. Before viewers saw the final cut of The Devil Wears Prada, the movie went through rewrites. 

Four writers wrote their own versions before Frankel selected Aline Brosh McKenna’s screenplay. Writing a draft in four weeks, McKenna tweaked the script once again after getting notes. 

When the script was ready to go, The Devil Wears Prada began a 55-day shoot in New York City. It cost $41 million to make and earned more than $320 million worldwide. 

The Devil Wears Prada is still played on TV with surprising regularity. It’s also available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.