Not that she's naming names or anything, but Anne Hathaway, who plays hapless magazine underling Andy in the film adaptation of Lauren Weisberger's 2003 best-selling send-up of the fashion world, has some real experience with bosses from hell. ''You just really don't know how you're gonna get through another day standing next to that person,'' says Hathaway, who researched her role by working at the chichi auction house Christie's in New York City. Meanwhile, Meryl Streep felt like she was revisiting her past while playing Andy's impossible-to-please boss, Miranda (said to be based on Vogue editor Anna Wintour). ''I don't know very much about the world of fashion, yet I'm very, very interested in costuming,'' says Streep, who studied drama at Yale. ''My thesis was in costume design, and I'm interested in how character is defined and what people put on their bodies.''
When not musing over Project Runway aspirations, Streep came up with an interesting way to augment Miranda's intimidation factor. ''I think that people that speak softly are the most scary people,'' she says of her character's whispery, terrifying delivery. ''The real shouters that's sort of more of the way I run my life.... And no one listens.'' The actress' onscreen technique certainly had the desired effect. Says Hathaway: ''I would tell her I knew she had a good take when they would yell Cut! and I felt like I had to vomit.''