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Emily Blunt reveals who Miranda Priestly was really based on in The Devil Wears Prada

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Emily Reynolds
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We had long thought we knew exactly who Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly was based on. But it turns out we were wrong…

If you’re anything like us, your repeated rewatches of the 2006 classic The Devil Wears Prada would have led you to one and only one conclusion: that Meryl Streep’s depiction of iconically fierce (and fearsome) magazine editor Miranda Priestly was based on Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

She had it all: the style, the sunglasses, the icy demeanour. Who wouldn’t draw a line between the two?

But in a new interview with NPR, co-star Emily Blunt has revealed that the character wasn’t based on Wintour after all.

“So for anyone who hasn’t seen it,” interviewer Terry Gross said, “it’s set at this high-fashion magazine – kind of Vogue. Is that fair to say? And Meryl Streep plays the editor-in-chief. Why am I blanking on her name?” 

“Anna Wintour,” Blunt laughingly responded. 

“But Meryl didn’t actually base it on Anna Wintour,” she said. “Well, she told Anna that. She based it on two men in Hollywood that she knew – who will remain nameless, but I know who they are.” 

Blunt also opened up about her audition for her role in the film

Blunt also used the interview to talk about her experience auditioning for her role as bitchy office assistant Emily Charlton – one of her first roles in Hollywood.

“I was out in LA, which I found altogether overwhelming anyway because it was very new,” the actress said. 

“I was 22, I think, and I was auditioning at Fox Studios for something else when they just threw these slides at me and asked if I could read for this other thing while I was there – it was called The Devil Wears Prada.”

“I was really nervous because I was going to miss my flight – so I think the anxiety I felt about being late gave me a sort of fretful energy. That rather worked for this anxious, fractious, starving assistant I was playing.” 

Streep and Blunt are now firm friends – but the process took a while

Blunt has now worked with Streep on three occasions – on The Devil Wears Prada, on 2014 fantasy film Into The Woods, and most recently in Mary Poppins Returns, where the pair play distantly related cousins. 

“I only found out after [the filming of The Devil Wears Prada] how gregarious, warm and loving she is. I think that character was quite hard for her because we’d all be having a party on the other side of the set, and she would be sort of reading a book in the corner trying to stay focused and severe as this character. I really got to know her afterwards.”

She also points out that the two stars have always played characters “who were a bit contentious with each other” – in Mary Poppins Returns, Streep plays a character Blunt refers to as her “insane cousin”, and Into the Woods saw Blunt play a woman cursed by a witch played by Streep. 

“I’m just like, when can we play sort of lovers or friends at least - even friends, you know. I’m sort of waiting for the day,” she said. 

Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep playing lovers in a Hollywood film? Now that’s something we want to see.

Images: Getty

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Emily Reynolds

Emily Reynolds is a journalist and author based in London. Her first book, A Beginner’s Guide to Losing Your Mind, came out in February 2017 with Hodder & Stoughton. She is currently working on her second.  

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