It earned her an Academy Award nomination and is often described as her most iconic role, but Meryl Streep almost didn’t play Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada.
Wendy Finerman, one of the producers of the 2006 comedy film, guest starred on the latest episode of the Hollywood Gold podcast and shared that she faced some pushback when she decided to cast Meryl.
“[Casting] Meryl, people thought we were crazy. I mean, I had people call me up and say, ‘Are you out of your mind? She’s never been funny a day in her life,’” Wendy recalled.
While we know now that Meryl is a comedic genius – we think her hilarious performance as Loretta in Only Murders in the Building is her best to date – we can understand why some thought Meryl wasn’t “funny” back in 2006.
Prior to The Devil Wears Prada, Meryl had starred in a slew of serious films like Sophie’s Choice, Kramer vs Kramer and The Bridges of Madison County, and that’s the type of role she was known for.
Thankfully though, Wendy stuck to her guns and hired Meryl.
“She has been funny, and they were wrong. But this was clearly a different kind of role for her; I think that was part of the fun of the unexpected.”
The Devil Wears Prada follows Andy Sachs, an intelligent but unfashionable young woman (played by Anne Hathaway) who miraculously lands a job at Runway fashion magazine as an assistant to the ruthless Editor-in-Chief Miranda Priestly.
Many believe the Miranda character was based on US Vogue editor Anna Wintour – the film is an adaptation of the novel by the same name by Lauren Weisberger, and Lauren worked at Vogue as Anna’s assistant early in her career.
However, Meryl never tried to imitate Anna in her performance.
“I wasn’t interested in doing a biopic on Anna; I was interested in her position in her company. I wanted to take on the burdens she had to carry, along with having to look nice every day,” Meryl told Entertainment Weekly in 2021.
Stream The Devil Wears Prada starring Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt and Stanley Tucci now on Disney Plus with a mth-to-mth no lock-in contract. Subscribe here.