In the film, Runway magazine assistant Andy (Hathaway) is given the responsibility of delivering the publication’s next issue to her boss, Miranda Priestly (Streep), at her home, which is where Andy unexpectedly runs into Priestly’s daughters.
Now, more than 10 years after the movie’s release, BuzzFeed News chatted with Colleen and Suzanne Dengel who played Miranda’s twins, Caroline and Cassidy, respectively.
“It was so long ago that sometimes we forget that we were in it,” Suzanne said. “It’s such a great movie and we felt so honored at the time and we still feel so honored just to have shared the screen with so many amazing people. It’s such an iconic movie and we had no idea that it was going to be what it was.”
“When we look back and think when we actually got the part, we literally had no idea what we were doing,” Colleen said, before playfully coming down on her own performance. “If my part was cut out, that would be my favorite movie.”
Here’s what we learned:
1. Colleen and Suzanne auditioned for David Frankel, the director, and Wendy Finerman, who served as producer.
The 15-year-old twins found out about the audition while they were taking an acting class in Philadelphia. Suzanne told BuzzFeed News that they made Frankel and Finerman laugh, which they think worked in their favor.
2. Though the twins’ audition went well, they didn’t know if they landed the part for another two weeks.
“We were told the director needed to see another set of twins from LA,” Suzanne said. “He saw them and we were still his choice, so they ended up casting us.”
3. It was one of the first times they were able to work together as a pair.
Before Prada, they mainly acted in commercials alone, so they were excited to be able to do a project together.
4. And they were most excited about working with Anne Hathaway.
“We freaked out because we were going to get to work with Anne Hathaway because we loved The Princess Diaries,” Suzanne said. Colleen added, “Our mom was was, like, crying over Meryl Streep and we were like, ‘But Princess Diaries!’”
5. They got to “learn the craft” from “the best people” in the industry, Suzanne said.
“Everyone was very accessible,” Colleen said. “That’s one thing I’ll always take away from that set. No one was really too big for other people,” including Streep and Hathaway, whom the twins worked with really well. “Meryl was there to answer questions,” Colleen continued. “Wendy Finerman, who produced major movies at the time, like, I still can’t believe we were cast by her. She was so sweet. She invited us into her trailer for a tea party when we arrived. We just got incredible experiences and we got to know people that were major in the business.”
6. Streep was very much in character on set.
“Meryl didn’t talk to Anne at all and stayed in character the whole time,” Suzanne said.
7. And that scene in which Andy is tasked with dropping off the Runway book at Miranda’s home was all improv.
“We went into that not knowing what improv was,” Suzanne said. “They were like, ‘Just go with it.’”
“[Hathaway] played off us so well — we played off of each other so well,” Colleen added. “That was just something we did with Anne and it made the cut.”
8. Though the scene was improvised, it took some time to get it just right — three days, according to Colleen.
“They were so determined to get this specific shot of us upstairs. I think like, inspired by The Shining or something,” she said.
9. No, the twins did not get advance copies of the last Harry Potter novel, and they were disappointed because they’re actually Potterheads.
“We had people asking us every single day if we had that Harry Potter I think for like three years after that movie came out. And, for the record, it was all gibberish. There was nothing in that book,” Suzanne said. Colleen said they ended up auctioning off the books for charity.
10. And it took some time to get adjusted to their newfound fame.
Suzanne described the attention they’d get in high school as very “intense” because they’re not “attention seekers.” “We’d get embarrassed, we’d leave football games, and now as adults, I look at it as a much more ‘feather in my cap’ sort of experience,” she said. “I still can’t believe we managed to pull off getting that part, let alone being in that movie. When people find out now … they get excited and they’re not mean about it … like, they can’t believe it was us and we look drastically different than we used to as kids. So it’s fun to tell people now.”
Colleen added: “I’m more proud of it. We were very humble, very scared kids. And now I’m like, ‘Well, we did that and that was really cool.’ … It’s one of those things that not everyone has the privilege to do and we’ll never forget.”
11. They walked away from the industry for a while because of a bad audition experience.
“We actually don’t act as much as we used to. We actually took a step back a couple of years ago because the industry is vastly different out here than it is in New York,” said Colleen. (She and Suzanne both live in California now.) “I think we lasted auditioning every day for about nine months.”
Because they’re twins, they were sometimes told that casting directors wouldn’t want to see “the same person,” even though Suzanne and Colleen are vastly different. Colleen described the experience as “devastating,” but they said that they’d eventually come back to the industry and be in front of the camera if the right opportunity came along.
12. The twins are now 25, they live in Southern California, and they’ve ventured into writing more than appearing onscreen.
“We really discovered that we like writing and we want to write something for ourselves,” Colleen said.
They both received degrees from Southern New Hampshire University, majoring in communications, new media, and marketing. They hope they’ll be able to one day “promote our writing ideas and sell them,” Colleen said.
One of the projects they’re working on will address LGBT representation, which is very important to both twins, especially Suzanne, who recently married her wife.