Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt Reunite to Share ‘Devil Wears Prada’ Stories and Bond Over Christopher Nolan

Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt Variety
Photographs by Alexi Lubomirski
“Did we meet before the table read?” Emily Blunt asks Anne Hathaway.

“This is so embarrassing,” Hathaway replies, “because I remember every second of the first time I met you. I’m so much more into you than you are into me. It’s fine. It’s fine.”

Blunt may not recall the specifics of how the pair initially connected before working on 2006’s “The Devil Wears Prada,” but the rest of us can’t forget the moment we first saw them together. Their chemistry — Blunt playing imperious aloofness as lead assistant Emily to Hathaway’s bumbling, frizzy charm as junior assistant Andrea — buoyed the workplace romantic comedy to $325 million at the global box office and made both women into megastars. Hathaway, emerging from “The Princess Diaries,” proved she could stand Manolo-to-Manolo with Meryl Streep’s villainous fashion editor, while Blunt, an untested actor, found herself suddenly a household name.

This year, both of Miranda Priestly’s on-screen helpers are enjoying career momentum. Blunt delivers her best work in Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” playing Kitty, the wife of scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who delivers the shock-and-awe fireworks of the film’s final act. And Hathaway plays a mysterious prison psychologist in “Eileen,” trading off her glamour and enigmatic persona to bewitch a colleague (Thomasin McKenzie) and stir up chaos. The old friends compare notes on working with Nolan and the perils of Method acting — and, of course, they revisit their favorite memories from “Prada” in a game of reading quotes off cue cards. That’s all!

Alexi Lubomirski for Variety

ANNE HATHAWAY: I joined the cast of “The Devil Wears Prada” just before you and thought, “Who’s going to play Emily?”

EMILY BLUNT: They said, “Some rando who no one’s ever heard of.”

HATHAWAY: No, you hadn’t been cast yet. I was hearing that your name came up, and they said, “It’s this amazing girl out of England and she’s so funny.” And I remember walking into the room and turning and meeting you. In my head — instant thought — I was like, “What a movie star!”

BLUNT: What? Are you getting this?

HATHAWAY: You were shedding stardust. Then we went for coffee. I took you for a walk around where I live.

BLUNT: I was so green coming into that situation. And you were like the warmest embrace. Even though you were a colossal movie star at that time, you treated me like a complete equal. You are one of the people I’ve known longest. We’ve known each other for 18 years.

HATHAWAY: What? Our relationship is the age of an adult.

BLUNT: That’s drinking age in England.

HATHAWAY: We are so drunk in England right now.

BLUNT: We just had a joy bomb of a time on that movie. I don’t know if any of us knew it was going to become what it did. It’s quoted to me every week. It will be the movie that
changed my life.

HATHAWAY: So we’re in the “The Devil Wears Prada” club together. And now we’re in another club together — the Christopher Nolan club.

BLUNT: Yeah. Captain Extraordinary.

HATHAWAY: That’s a perfect name for him. When we did “Interstellar,” Matthew McConaughey noted that when we were up in the glacier, the colder it was and the harder the conditions were, the bluer Chris’ eyes became. And the blonder his hair.

BLUNT: I always feel that with Chris’ hair. I can tell when he is very happy with a take because his hair starts to dance. It’s almost like he vibrates when he’s happy. He’s not going to tell you that he’s that happy, though, because he’s very English.

Alexi Lubomirski for Variety

HATHAWAY: The part that blows my mind about Chris is that he is authoritative in the best sense of the word. I remember one day we were doing a shot on “The Dark Knight Rises.” He came to me beforehand and said, “I just want you to know, this shot has lived in my head for many years. I’m going to be very specific about it. I’m going to make you do it a lot, but it’s not actually you. It’s just because I have it in my head a certain way.”

For him to say that in a way where, as an actor, you don’t start to question yourself!

BLUNT: We’ve all been on those sets where the director is a bad dad. You know what I mean? A bad dad who has an ego and an agenda. Chris is a good one.

HATHAWAY: With “Oppenheimer,” I’m at a loss for words. You are so wonderful in it. I was so proud of you. This character Kitty is so different from you. She’s like a dying star. Kitty contracts around her life rather than opening to it. Then, when she finally does open, you realize, oh God, the pain and indignity she’s lived with.

BLUNT: I did find her ferocity exciting. She was on her fourth husband by the time she was 29. Clearly, a bit of a nonconformist for the time. That deterioration that she goes through, and the indignity of having to contort herself into something so unnatural for her extraordinary brain, the capacity of [which] was so straitjacketed. I understood the anger and resentment, and why she wanted to numb it out. She was a big party animal.


BLUNT: She’d throw cocktail parties, but she wasn’t good at the small talk. She didn’t like doing it. She definitely got the reputation of not being terribly nice, and I understand why, but she was a bad mother. She did not read Good Housekeeping. She did not subscribe.

HATHAWAY: She knew she needed a kitchen. Where else would you put the ice? Now, “Oppenheimer” was not just a critical darling — this film is a hit …

BLUNT: … for a three-hour historical drama — even though I don’t want to call it that, because I think it’s a horror movie, a love story and a chase thriller. It’s like a three-hour heart attack. We are all awestruck by the success of it, and that people ran to the theaters over and over again. I don’t think even Chris understands how it all happened. People want the full kidnap of an experience, and you’re going to get that with a Chris Nolan movie.

Because of the strike, we didn’t get to watch the movie with an audience. I realized that “Oppenheimer” was going to be a very significant moment in cinema history when John [Krasinski, her husband] and I managed to find two seats at an Imax in Nyack, N.Y., in a shopping mall. We snuck in when the lights went dark, and I saw a group of teenage boys coming in dressed as [Cillian Murphy]. In Nyack, N.Y.! I got chills. I called Cillian afterwards and said, “You’re not going to believe what I just saw.”

HATHAWAY: We love you, Nyack!

Alexi Lubomirski for Variety

BLUNT: I was completely intoxicated by your character, Rebecca, in “Eileen.” I felt gripped by how you just would glide into this muted world with the ferocious allure that you have. You are so sexy in this movie. It’s crazy. I’m going to make you blush. Why did you want to do this?

HATHAWAY: William Oldroyd, the director, made a film called “Lady Macbeth” with Florence Pugh. I saw it when it came out because I’m always curious about emerging filmmakers. My jaw was on the floor. I thought it was so bold.

BLUNT: What was he like?

HATHAWAY: He’s a giggle of a person while also being delighted by darkness. We were an indie. We had a tiny, tiny, tiny budget. We would have so many complicated scenes to do, and somehow he would dilate time around us. I would come out of scenes in a blackout thinking that we’d been filming for seven hours, and it had been 50 minutes. I had to trust him so much because I was stepping so far outside my comfort zone.

BLUNT: Yeah, but it was so dangerous and cool. It’s OK to be a bit scared, isn’t it?

HATHAWAY: I enjoyed it. I feel braver now. I remember sitting with a friend on a weekend during the shoot. He said, “You OK?” I said, “I think I’ve gone too far this time. Oh God, I’m blond and I invented an accent. I’m not basing it on anyone except for my own imagination. This is the way I saw her, and I feel like I’ve gone too far.”

BLUNT: But that’s why she’s this rare bird who comes in and just bewitches everybody. It’s wonderful that everything was so put on, because you couldn’t get a bead on her. You have to tell me about that amazing scene in the kitchen with the bottle of wine — you open it in a very unusual way.

HATHAWAY: We were shooting in a house in New Jersey in January. The script said my character puts a bottle of wine in a shoe and hits it against the wall until the cork pops out. The prop guy assured me that it [would work], and it did.

BLUNT: Should we all do it as a party trick now?

HATHAWAY: TikTok, get on it.

BLUNT: OK, let’s not waste this opportunity. We have some historic quotes from “The Devil Wears Prada.” Shall we read some?

HATHAWAY: I would love it.

BLUNT: OK. [Picks up a note card.] “Is there some reason that my coffee isn’t here? Has she died or something?” I remember that one. I think [Meryl] improvised that one.

HATHAWAY: I remember seeing Meryl come up with 18 different lines on the spot. Stanley Tucci was doing the same, and you. I was just like this kindergartner who was like, “How are they all so good?”

OK, my turn. “Can you please spell ‘Gabbana’?”

BLUNT: That was the cutest.

HATHAWAY: This is a fancy story. I was in Italy recently, and I showed up at my hotel, and they brought this incredible Italian cake to my room. They had written on the top, “Can you please spell ‘Gabbana’?”

BLUNT: That is just the greatest. OK, this is one of my favorites. “Oh, I’m sorry. Do you have some prior commitment? Some hideous skirt convention you have to go to?” [Laughs]

HATHAWAY: I love that you crack yourself up 18 years later, because that’s what happened on the day.

BLUNT: I would laugh all the time because I was so horrible to you most of the time in this movie. And it was your little face — this beautiful, slightly baffled face.

HATHAWAY: A deer in headlights. You know, I think [Meryl] always wanted to join in on the fun with us. She kept herself so in character.

BLUNT: Do you know she’s never done Method acting since? She said it made her so miserable on this one, because we were all having a party on the other side of the set. And she was like, “I won’t do this again.” Here’s another. “You eat carbs, for Christ’s sake!”

HATHAWAY: I remember that scene. You also say, “It’s not fair” as you’re eating your pudding.

BLUNT: OK! I found the one. This is the line: “Well, I don’t eat anything, and when I feel like I’m about to faint, I eat a cube of cheese.”

HATHAWAY: One of the most iconic lines in cinema history, Emily. Did you come up with “I love my job, I love my job.”

BLUNT: Yeah.

HATHAWAY: So much of this film is just David Frankel giving us space. It’s my turn. “She’s not happy unless everyone around her is panicked, nauseous or suicidal.” I don’t remember this. [It’s her character, in conversation with her boyfriend played by Adrian Grenier.]

BLUNT: He’s making the grilled cheese, and you go, “I’m not even hungry anymore.”

HATHAWAY: Fun fact: I am wearing my cousin’s headband in that scene.

BLUNT: Do you know what I loved about that headband? Your little bangs would stick out. It was just so cute. It was just so nerdy. And I wanted that grilled cheese so badly.

This interview has been edited and condensed. Variety Actors on Actors is presented by “American Fiction.”

From Variety US