A ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ Deleted Scene Showed a Softer Side of Miranda Priestley

The Devil Wears Prada was a hit in the rom-com genre in 2006. It helped newcomer Anne Hathaway break out of her Princess Diaries casting, and welcomed Emily Blunt into the spotlight. It also showed the incredible acting range, yet again, of the indomitable Meryl Streep

The film was met with rave reviews, becoming an instant classic. It details the foibles of journalist Andy Sachs (Hathaway) who becomes an assistant to fictional Runway magazine’s editor-in-chief, Miranda Priestly (Streep). All Andy has to do is last a year in the Runway offices before it will open doors to new opportunities. But this proves to be quite a task considering the cold aura Miranda exudes.

The movie was nominated for two Oscars, and landed Streep a Golden Globe for her performance. And while the film only shows glimpses of the vulnerable humanity of Miranda underneath her cool exterior, a deleted scene threatened to unravel her whole persona. 

Meryl Streep’s method acting for Miranda caused mental anguish

devil wears prada
Meryl Streep at the Venice Film Festival for ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ | Pool Catarina/Vandeville/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

The Devil Wears Prada was based on a book of the same title. The character of Miranda is based at least in part on Vogue’s Anna Wintour. (Who, by the way, showed up to a showing of the movie wearing none other than Prada). Streep, however, wasn’t interested in a “biopic” of the fashion mogul. She instead sought to embody the spirit of a woman in Wintour’s position, not just the personality of a single person. 

It was one of the few times Streep used method acting to completely immerse herself in a character throughout filming. Streep embodied Miranda’s soft-spoken but vicious demeanor the entire time she was on set. Later, she said the character took a toll on her mental health. She reportedly hasn’t tried method acting again since completing the film. 

Streep, however, was all in throughout the creation of the movie. She fought to have Miranda’s signature white hair and took cues from Clint Eastwood for her chilling but biting cadence. The character became a villain personified within the first three minutes of dialogue. “Tales of your incompetence do not interest me,” Miranda says in her first soft-spoken yet unmistakable diatribe to her first assistant, Emily Charlton (Blunt). Just moments before, Runway’s art director Nigel Kipling (Stanley Tucci) bellows to the office to “Gird your loins!” as Miranda ascends in the elevator.

A deleted scene included in the film’s extras shows Miranda thanking Andy

Throughout the film, Andy transforms from a meek, fashion-illiterate receptionist into a more confident, right-hand woman to Miranda. While she sacrifices a few principles along the way — and later stands up for those principles — she finds a newfound respect for the fashion industry and the woman at the top who leads it. 

In a deleted scene, all of the character development almost comes to a screeching halt, as Glamour shows. The clip is from Miranda’s charity gala, where Andy and Emily work overtime to help Miranda remember faces and names. In the clip, Miranda’s husband shows up drunk, ranting about the outrage of not being recognized and called “Mr. Priestly,” and insults Miranda’s boss. Andy pulls the magazine CEO aside, distracting him from the scene as Miranda soothes her husband’s ego. Andy turns to glance back at Miranda, who mouths a soft “thank you” to the assistant before gliding away. 

The clip is less than two minutes long, and shows far more vulnerability than we’re used to seeing from Miranda. In fact, it’s almost a jarring break in character for her. It was originally included in the “extras” for the movie when it was released on DVD, according to Yahoo!

Fans and the movie’s executives agree the scene never had a place in the film 

Some commenters on the clip say it adds a bit of context for why Andy was later chosen to travel with Miranda to Paris for Fashion Week instead of Emily. However, most agree that the “thank you” was inconsistent with the rest of Miranda’s character. And it didn’t make sense in the overall arc of the movie. “It is actually crazy how much one short scene can/could’ve changed a movie,” one fan wrote. “This scene made both Emily and Miranda seem WAY more human than they ever did in the final cut.”

One fan pointed out that had this scene made it into the movie, it would have taken away some of the punch when Miranda does finally acknowledge Andy’s contributions at the end. “If they would have kept this scene then the ending scene where Miranda looks at Andy, then sits in the car [and smiles] would have lost its charm,” they wrote. 

The movie’s executives put this particular clip on the cutting room floor long before they got to final edits. In fact, director David Frankel didn’t even remember shooting the clip when Yahoo! asked him about the decision to cut the scene. He needed to ask screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna about it, who said it was shot in the early hours of the morning one night on a lark. “You can see when you see the [deleted] scene that it’s too much,” McKenna said. “Andy intervenes too much. She’s way too acknowledged by Miranda. The ‘thank you’? The movie’s over at that point! So you can see why it didn’t work.”

The Devil Wears Prada is currently available to stream for free on FreeVee and for rent on Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, YouTube, and more.