A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World
RD.COM Arts & Entertainment
When The Devil Wears Prada debuted in theaters in 2006, little did viewers know they were about to get a classic. Not only is it an iconic movie with good clothes, but it’s endlessly quotable and watchable.
For a refresher, the movie follows fresh college graduate Andrea “Andy” Sachs (Anne Hathaway, an aspiring journalist so desperate for a job that she somehow ends up working as the junior personal assistant to the editor-in-chief of Runway magazine, Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep).
Priestly is tough to work for and terrifies everyone, including her senior assistant Emily Charlton (Emily Blunt). Working for Priestly begins to wear on Andy and her lackluster wardrobe, but after a while, she adapts to the lifestyle and learns how to look expensive and fabulous like everyone else at the magazine, thanks to some personal stylist tips from Nigel Kipling (Stanley Tucci). Despite being at Priestly’s beck and call 24/7, she’s determined to survive in the position for a year so she can score a reporting job elsewhere.
Amid all of the drama, one person in Andy’s life has caused controversy since the movie’s release. After 16 years, people still talk about Nate (Adrian Grenier), Andy’s boyfriend, who many think is the real villain of the story.
At first, Andy’s boyfriend Nate in The Devil Wears Prada seems like a nice guy. But as Andy begins working for Miranda Priestly and gets more involved in the job, she’s on-call all the time.
As a result, Andy stops going out as much. She misses Nate’s birthday celebration in exchange for an important gala. All of this begins to take its toll, and Nate becomes a whiny, unsupportive 20-something who seems more concerned with himself than with what’s good for Andy. He constantly complains about Andy’s job and tells her to quit, and fails to appreciate Andy’s success when she starts excelling at work. Fans have called him a toxic character for trying to hold Andy back.
On Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live on Oct. 24, a fan asked Hathaway, “Do you agree with fans that Nate was the true villain of The Devil Wears Prada?” The show’s host Andy Cohen chimed in—”Yes! He was!”—before Hathaway could respond. “Well, Andy’s answered for me,” the actor joked.
Hathaway’s answer, however, might surprise you. “No. I’m sorry, I don’t. I think that they were both very young and figuring things out. He did behave like a brat, but I also behaved like a brat in my 20s, and I hopefully grew out of it.”
She feels both Andy and Nate were learning and growing as they went. “I think that that’s what we all do,” she added. “I wouldn’t want to be defined by my worst moment in my 20s, certainly. So I don’t hold Nate as a villain, actually.”
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Hathaway agreed that Nate was immature about Andy missing his birthday but still showed compassion for the character. “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, do better!”
Adrian Grenier, who played Nate, talked about the dilemma in an interview with Entertainment Weekly in June 2021.
“I didn’t see some of the subtleties and the nuance of this character and what it represented in the film until the wisdom of the masses came online and started to push against the character and throw him under the bus, and I got flak,” the actor admitted.
Specifically, he called out the scene where Nate is upset that Andy missed his birthday celebration. “At the end of the day, it’s just a birthday, right? It’s not the end of the world,” Grenier said. “I might’ve been as immature as him at the time, so I personally couldn’t see his shortcomings. But after time to reflect and much deliberation, I’ve come to realize the truth in that perspective.”
Whether you agree that the Nate Devil Wears Prada villain theory is correct or not, one thing’s for sure, Miranda Priestly wasn’t the only questionable character.
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