Gird your loins and move faster than a glacial pace: Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns -- the long-awaited follow-up to The Devil Wears Prada that marked Lauren Weisberger’s debut and made her a best-selling author 10 years ago -- hit shelves last week.
The first novel introduced Andy Sachs, an aspiring journalist who landed a position at the coveted fashion publication Runway. However, assisting the most influential -- and devilish -- woman in the fashion industry caused her to question her values and strained her personal relationships. The 2006 film adaptation featured Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Stanley Tucci and Emily Blunt, and grossed $300 million worldwide.
“It’s my first time writing a sequel, but I’ve been thinking about it for years,” Weisberger tells The Hollywood Reporter of her new Simon & Schuster book, set a decade after the original novel. “I wanted to stay true to Andy and, to an extent, Miranda and Emily, but have them change and grow in the way that people do over ten years. It was finding that balance of what new and exciting things are happening, but still staying touch with essentially who they are.”
Fans will find Andy at the helm of her own high-fashion bridal publication, launched alongside her former nemesis at Runway, Emily Charlton. Weisberger says the two have become “partners in crime, for better or for worse,” in covering celebrity nuptials and combating their common enemy in the book. She drew from her personal and professional growth to shape the updated Andy.
“She’s not that super naive 22-year-old who’s scared of her own shadow; she’s a confident career woman now,” Weisberger says of Andy. “She’s made a place for herself in the magazine world, she’s about to get married, she’s found a lot of security and success --- of course, we all know that exactly when it seems that way, things come in to throw that all off balance. But it was nice working with the new Andy.”
Such wasn’t necessarily the case when reviving Miranda Priestly for the sequel -- the character is inspired by Vogue editrix Anna Wintour, and Weisberger's first post-graduation job was as her assistant at the fashion magazine.
“Sometimes I’m thinking, I’m getting stressed out because her role as character is to just come in and find different ways of tormenting Andy and Emily,” she says. “I find it both anxiety-producing and yet really fun. The pace picks up, everything moves a little faster, gets a little edgier when she’s on the page."
But don’t expect Miranda to be turning over a new leaf -- unlike the other Devil Wears Prada characters, Weisberger deliberately ensured she stayed stoic over the decade between the two books (besides a promotion, a plot point that was completely coincidental to Wintour’s own recently announced role as Conde Nast’s artistic director). And after drawing inspiration from the pageboy-bobbed personality for two novels, how does Weisberger feel about Wintour? “I worked with her for a year ... and I think she's a great editor.”
To complement the familiar faces, the sequel also introduces a love interest for Andy: Max Harrison, someone who would’ve been quickly dismissed by a younger version of Andy.
“He’s tall, dark and handsome, he’s from a super wealthy family, he’s socially connected, and he kind of has the reputation of being a little player,” Weisberger explains. “I think all of that initially would’ve been a huge turnoff. She would’ve never gotten to know that he is a good guy, and he has the potential to be a good husband, despite all of those things. He’s brand-new, and it was fun to write.”
The best-selling author greeted approximately 200 fans at NYC’s Bagatelle on Tuesday night, at an event that featured a discussion and book signing in partnership with Gilt City. Weisberger opted for Prada-free chic, wearing a navy blue (not cerulean) Diane Von Furstenberg lace mini-dress with studded Valentino pointed-toe stilettos.
Weisberger admits that penning a sequel to such a popular book and film had its pressures, but she says she managed to write without picturing Streep and Hathaway butting heads in her mind. "Everyone except Emily -- she will always be Emily Blunt to me," says Weisberger. Plot points aren’t always as clear. “There are still times every now and then when I stop, and I’m like, ‘Did that happen in the book or the movie?’ I can’t always keep it straight,” the author says.
Though there are no plans for a film adaptation currently in the works, Weisberger hopes to reunite the cast from the hit 2006 film, as well director David Frankel and screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna. (Last year, Streep mentioned that she would gladly reprise her icy Oscar-nominated role.)
“It would be great to see it on the big screen again; it was a total dream come true the first time,” says Weisberger, who told the roomful of fans that she wouldn’t change a thing about the Devil Wears Prada film and that her favorite scene was Hathaway’s big makeover by Stanley Tucci’s character, “because nothing like that ever happened in my life, and I wish it did!”
Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns (as well as the audiobook version narrated by Smash’s Megan Hilty) is now available for $25.99.