“He couldn’t support her like she needed because he was a fragile, wounded boy…”
Hideous skirt conventions. Groundbreaking florals for spring. A job that a million girls would kill for… We’re suddenly feeling pretty old after learning that The Devil Wears Prada was released 15 years ago. Yep, the adaptation of Lauren Weisberger’s novel about a young journalist cutting her teeth into the cruel (and fictional) world of fashion magazines is celebrating its birthday. That’s why its original stars – including Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep and Adrian Grenier – filmed a reunion video for Entertainment Weekly this week.
Let’s be honest, we never need an excuse to quote Miranda Priestly’s zingers (“By all means, move at a glacial pace, you know how that thrills me…”), or to cancel Friday night plans in favour of staying in with a glass of wine to watch TDWP for the 100th time. It’s one of those films that will forever retain its place in the zeitgeist. But that’s not to say the film is without its outdated problems. In fact, a lot of the scenes probably wouldn’t make the cut today.
Take the obsession and remarks about Andy’s dress size, for example – not cool. There’s also the toxic work culture she is expected to thrive in – hello burnout! And then, there’s Andy’s boyfriend Nate – one of film’s most hated ‘nice guys’.
When we first meet Nate, an upcoming chef on the New York scene who only seems to cook with overpriced Jarlsberg (red flag), he seems supportive of Andy’s career. However, he soon starts to pout and throw barbed comments (“I wouldn’t care if you were out there pole-dancing all night, as long as you did it with a little integrity”) when Andy is forced to compromise parts of her personal life because of her fire-breathing dragon boss. And remember when he makes Andy feel bad for missing his birthday party? It didn’t even matter that she’d walked away from a chance meeting with a huge editor after an important work event to try and get to Nate’s party on time.
In the years that have passed, fans have come to agree that Nate is the absolute worst. And now, Grenier – who played nasty-not-nice Nate – has finally agreed with the verdict.
As part of the EW reunion, Grenier admitted that he initially “couldn’t get my head around” the backlash to his character. He explained: “Perhaps it was because I wasn’t mature as a man, just as Nate probably could’ve used a little growing up. I was just as immature as him at the time, so I couldn’t see his shortcomings.
However, he added: “After taking time to reflect and much deliberation online, I can realise the truth in that perspective.”
Grenier went on to say that “Nate hadn’t grown up, but Andy had”. He said: “She needed more out of life, and she was achieving it. He couldn’t support her like she needed because he was a fragile, wounded boy. On behalf of all the Nates out there: Come on! Step it up!”
Hathaway also had something to say about her former onscreen boyfriend: “I don’t think everybody’s being completely honest with themselves about their own poutiness. Nate was pouty on his birthday because his girlfriend wasn’t there. In hindsight, I’m sure he wishes he made a different choice, but who doesn’t? We’ve all been brats at different points. We all just need to live, let live, and do better!”
Hmmm, some fans might not be as forgiving as Hathaway. But it’s at least a relief to hear that, if Grenier ever revisited the role, he’d realise there’s a lot of growing up to be done.
Images: Fox 2000 Pictures