20 Crazy Details Behind The Making Of The Princess Diaries Movies

PD Crazy Details One Audition

The Princess Diaries took the world by storm when it was released. Based on a novel series of the same name by Meg Cabot, moviegoers all over the world fell in love with her story and, of course, with breakout star Anne Hathaway.Garry Marshall - who also directed Pretty Woman - brought these movies to life in a way that nobody else could have. Oh, and Julie Andrews stars as a literal Queen. Could this movie be any more perfect?

Then, by some miracle, we got a Princess Diaries 2: A Royal Engagement, and it was just as good as the first one. While sequels rarely ever out-do the original, Princess Diaries 2 was a solid follow-up to the first movie.

There are so many incredible details that went into the making of these films. After learning all of these new fun facts, you will definitely want to go back and watch both films with a fresh set of eyes.

Did you know Garry Marshall purposely put a line from Pretty Woman into Mia's infamous fancy dinner scene? Or that Julie Andrews' botched throat surgery was a factor in the making of Princess Diaries 2?

These and many more details will make you appreciate The Princess Diaries more than ever before. While making movies is never an easy task, Garry Marshall really made it a point to make The Princess Diaries movies extra special for the fans.

These are 20 Crazy Details Behind The Making Of The Princess Diaries Movies.

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PD Crazy Details Mias Fake Hair Brows
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20 Mia's Crazy Hair and Eyebrows Were Fake

PD Crazy Details Mias Fake Hair Brows

While it's probably not too shocking that Mia's eyebrows were fake, it turns out her hair was entirely fake too!

The hairpiece Hathaway wore as the "before" version of Mia was nicknamed "The Beast" because of how heavy and unruly it was.

When asked how Mia would be different in Princess Diaries 2, Hathaway immediately referenced the fake hair. "Well, I didn't wear a wig in it and no fake eyebrows so that is pretty nice. It's Mia as a woman."

Hathaway felt that the young Mia was left behind: "I mean, if Princess Diaries was about Mia becoming a young woman," she says, "Princess Diaries II is about her going from young woman to full on actualized, realized woman."

19 There are tons of Pretty Woman references

PD Crazy Details Pretty Woman

If you've ever wondered why The Princess Diaries reminds you so much of the movie Pretty Woman, it turns out it's no coincidence. Garry Marshall directed both Princess Diaries films as well as Pretty Woman, and there are tons of references throughout.

For starters, Hector Elizondo who plays the driver Joe in the Princess Diaries films, is also the doorman Barnard in Pretty Woman. Another actor, Allan Kent, actually plays the same role in The Princess Diaries and Pretty Woman - as a waiter "amused by the lead character's inappropriate behavior at an important dinner."

Speaking of the dinner scenes, they are almost exactly the same!

An awkward, out of place young woman experiences her first fancy dinner, and both make fools of themselves.

This leads to Kent saying his identical line, "it happens all the time."

18 Mia's tumble on the bleachers was not scripted

PD Crazy Details Bleacher Fall

Anne Hathaway's natural clumsiness seems to have done nothing but make her perfect for the role of Mia. Heather Matarazzo, who plays Mia's best friend Lily in the movies, recalls the day of the infamous "bleacher scene" where Hathaway actually fell.

Because of the way Matarazzo and Hathaway handled it, the scene made the final cut of the film.

"We just keep on going with the scene. We don’t stop, we don’t end," Matarazzo recalls. "It was such a testament to the kind of person that she is, not just professionally but personally… That’s Annie in a nutshell: You fall, you laugh, and you keep going.”

It sounds like the making of this movie was just as fun as it looked!

17 The Queen's role eliminated Mia's father

PD Crazy Details Julie Andrews Role

Leave it to Julie Andrews to change the entire direction of a film based on her star power. While Mia's dad is very much alive and well in the books, this is not the case of the movies.

In order to give Julie Andrews a bigger part they had to "raise the stakes."

According to the writer of the series, Meg Cabot, Disney told her "we think we can give [Andrews] a lotta the dad lines.” Cabot's response was, “Well who’s the actress?” When they told her it was Andrews, Cabot said, “Oh my God, [eliminate] the dad.”

It seems like it was no sweat off Cabot's back, knowing the movie was in incredible hands with both Disney and Andrews.

16 Anne Hathaway beat Liv Tyler for the part

The Princess Diaries is without a doubt the movie that made Anne Hathaway a star. We can't picture anyone else in the role, but before Hathaway landed the part other women were seriously considered for the role of Mia - including Liv Tyler.

What was it that made Hathaway stand out from the rest?

According to Hathaway herself, what got her the role was her clumsiness. Though her and director Garry Marshall did hit it off right away, Hathaway thinks that falling off of her chair was the icing on the cake. “I got really nervous and fell out of my chair, and I think that’s what he was most impressed with," Hathaway remembers.

Mia's signature clumsiness clearly came naturally to Hathaway, and after only one audition she landed the role.

15 It was originally titled The Princess of Tribeca

PD Crazy Details Princess of Tribeca

Believe it or not, The Princess Diaries film was originally not going to share a name with the book series. The script was titled "The Princess of Tribeca" when the cast first received it.

Thankfully some changes to the story rendered "The Princess of Tribeca" unusable - it doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

The book series is set in New York and Mia's father is still in the picture. Director Garry Marshall not only decided to change locations, but he also decided to get rid of Mia's father in order for Julie Andrews' role as Queen Clarisse to be made bigger.

Since "Tribeca" no longer applied, the movie reverted back to its roots and stuck with the name The Princess Diaries.

14 Anne Hathaway went in public in her Mia costume and hated it

PD Crazy Details Mia

Anne Hathaway definitely owned her "before" look as Mia Thermopolis in the most endearing way. The bushy eyebrows, unruly hair, and overall awkardness still shine through even when Mia is wearing a ball gown and a tiara. That being said, when it comes to the real world, Hathaway was not happy about going out in public in full Mia attire.

She recounts a time when she had to go out into the world dressed as Mia, and she admits that she has" never felt so alone in [her] entire life."

She said to BBC, "I was in a book store and this really... weird guy came up to me and said: 'Would you like to come to my poetry reading?' I was like, 'er, no thank you.'"

13 Princes Diaries 2 was not based on the books

The Princess Diaries film followed The Princess Diaries books pretty closely. Besides the changes to location and Mia's father, most of the script stuck to Meg Cabot's original vision that fans fell in love with.

When it comes to Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement, things changed. Cabot addressed in her blog that Princess Diaries 2 was not based on her second book in the series, Princess in the Spotlight.

Princess Diaries 2 is a Disney original story that uses Cabot's characters to extend and create a new direction for Mia.

While some of Cabot's fans were likely upset that Disney went in their own direction, Cabot insisted before the film's release that it was a great script and encouraged her fans to see the film.

12 Whitney Houston was Princess Diaries' fairy godmother

PD Crazy Details Whitney Houston

It may come as a surprise to many that Whitney Houston produced both Princess Diaries films. But for those who know Whitney, it shouldn't be a shock at all. She starred in huge films in her day, and even ran her own production company BrownHouse.

What's better than having Whitney Houston produce your movie? Having Whitney Houston show up on set with a giant cake and sing you "happy birthday."

That was one of the perks Garry Marshall got to experience while working with Whitney. She surprised everyone by wheeling in a cake and, in her perfect voice, got everyone to sing along for Marshall's birthday.

Houston produced the first two Cheetah Girls films as well - Raven Symone starred in both, and had a role in Princess Diaries 2 as well.

11 Rob Schwartzman (Michael) is actually in a band

PD Crazy Details Rob Schwartzman

Robert Schwartzman, who plays Mia's musician love-interest Michael in the films, is in fact a real life musician.

He's the lead vocalist in the band Rooney, but you also likely know his famous brother, Jason Schwartzman.

Jason is an actor who frequently collaborates with Wes Anderson, and is also famous for being in the band Phantom Planet. Robert admitted that he would prefer to get famous from music, and also said he sometimes feels like a tag-a-long being the little brother.

"Jason likes my music, but feels like I'm just doing it because he's in a band," Robert recalls. He admits that once he got into music he absolutely fell in love with it.

Two Rooney band members even made it into The Princess Diaries - as did an original song of theirs!

10 Julie Andrews and Hector Elizondo made up their love story

PD Crazy Details Julie and Hector

One of the best parts of The Princess Bride films has been Clarisse and Joe's "will they or won't they" romance. Believe it or not, their love story didn't come from the book series or even from the script - it was all Julie Andrews and Hector Elizondo's idea.

Joe was just supposed to be the limo driver, but when Andrews and Elizondo got together, the chemistry was undeniable.

He recalls being on set with Andrews, and how they "evolved this other character" together.

"That came from a reading: Julie and I looked at each other and said, 'Hmm, you're cute.' We liked each other very much" Elizondo recalls.

9 Filming the beach party in the wrong place

PD Crazy Details Malibu

While most of the first Princess Diaries film was shot in the San Francisco area, the beach party scene was in fact shot in Malibu. In order to keep the San Francisco feel alive, the crew worked hard to make Malibu's Zuma Beach appear identical to San Francisco's Baker Beach.

The exact reasoning for the location change is unclear, but they did such a good job of transforming Zuma beach that audiences were none the wiser.

Aside from the beach party, San Francisco was largely used for filming locations. The Musee Mecanique, "a collection of vintage mechanical amusements located near San Francisco's historic Cliff House restaurant" was used for many scenea between Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews. The infamous Russian Hill was used in the scene where Mia encounters a cable car.

8 Garry Marshall gave Anne Hathaway life-changing advice

PD Crazy Details Gary Marshall Anne Hathaway

Can you believe that Garry Marshall gave Anne Hathaway advice that changed her life even more than The Princess Diaries movies did?

These films, especially the first, was Hathaway's break out role that got her started in the industry. She is now an Oscar-winning actress and one of the most sought after names in film.

What did Marshall say that was more life-changing than that? Well, turns out it's pretty simple advice.

Before filming he said to Hathaway, "You never know if a movie is going to be a hit or not. The only thing you can control is the memories you make when shooting it. So, let’s make some good memories."

“That advice changed my life even more than the film did," Hathaway told US Magazine.

7 The author Meg Cabot had no input in the movies

PD Crazy Details Meg Cabot

In Cabot's blog she explains to her fans the process of getting your book turned into a movie. While some authors are more heavily a part of the process, Cabot admits that she wasn't involved in the filming at all. After saying yes to her big picture deal, Cabot had nothing to do with the movie making process until she attended the premier a year later.

While this is common for authors, it can be hard to watch your story get interpreted by someone else.

Cabot had no worries. She was confident in Marshall, and said, "I don't think Garry Marshall needs 'help' to make a movie…especially 'help' from a novelist who has absolutely no experience in film-making!"

6 Julie Andrews's damaged voice returns

PD Crazy Details Julie and Raven

In her glory days, Julie Andrews had a four-octave voice that won the hearts of millions. But while performing on Broadway in the '90s, Andrews started having issues with her vocal chords.

It got so bad that she eventually had surgery-- a surgery that would ruin her voice. She ended up suing two doctors and settling out of court.

Imagine being the doctors who messed up Julie Andrews' voice!

The Princess Diaries 2 would be the first time Andrews sang in a film since her surgery, a song called "Your Crowning Glory". While her voice isn't the same as it used to be, it's still beautiful. The film's musical supervisor Dawn Soler said, "She nailed the song on the first take. I looked around and I saw grips with tears in their eyes."

5 The Jewels in Princess Diaries 2 were genuine Chopard jewels

PD Crazy Details Chopard Jewels

The Princess Diaries 2 spared no expense when it comes to the royal jewelry. In an interview with People Magazine, Anne Hathaway admits that all of the jewels were very much real, and from the famous jewelry maker Chopard.

There was armed security on set guarding the jewelry at all times. While all of the jewels were expensive, Hathaway said her engagement ring was actually priceless.

Interestingly enough, a huge necklace that Hathaway wore during the coronation scene made its way to the Oscars - though this time on Sharon Osbourne's neck. Hathaway recalls going up to Osbourne and saying, “You are wearing my necklace!" to which Osbourne replied, “No, dah-ling, it is Chopard’s.”

4 It was filmed in the same place as Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins

As if The Princess Diaries movies didn't already have enough connections to other movies and famous names - it turns out that it was also filmed at the exact location where Mary Poppins was filmed back in 1963 - Stage 2 of Walt Disney Studios.

Of course, this was a nostalgic moment for Julie Andrews and anyone else excited to work with her. It's like taking it back to where it all began!

The famous Stage 2 of Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California has since been renamed in honor of Andrews.

Rightly so, since two iconic films and performances of hers were created there! Talk about coming full circle.

3 The Official cameo

PD Crazy Details Mayor Willie Brown

There are so many things about The Princess Diaries that make it unique, and one of those special touches comes right from San Francisco itself! At the time of filming, Willie Brown was the mayor of San Francisco, and he portrayed himself during a brief interview as he arrives at the Genovian ball.

Director Garry Marshall sung his praises, saying that Brown "did a terrific job" and "even managed to avoid being upstaged by a man juggling pears and a beautiful woman in a low-cut evening gown!" That's no easy feat for someone without acting experience.

While Willie Brown is no longer the Mayor of San Francisco, we will always remember him for his iconic line "it never comes down on Willie Brown!"

2 The cast was full of Garry Marshall's family

Director Garry Marshall

Garry Marshall really has a way of making his movies a personal affair. From using the same actors, to referencing past movies, even to casting his own family members in small roles. Marshall really knows how to keep it fun on set!

Marshall's twin granddaughters make an appearance as two girls trying to get Mia's autograph.

Clarisse's secretary Charlotte is actually played by his daughter Kathleen Marshall. On top of including family, Marshall decided to include himself too. Marshall and his sister can be seen as guests at the Genovia ball in the final scene of The Princess Diaries.

It's nice to see a director who knew how to have fun and include his loved ones in the filmmaking process.

1 Julie Andrews was the only choice for the Queen

PD Crazy Details Queen Clarisse

Director Gary Marshall admits that there was only one person he ever wanted for the role of Queen Clarisse Renaldi, and that was Julie Andrews.

Marshall admits to being a huge fan of Andrews long before The Princess Diaries movies. He told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, “I went 11 times to see [her in the 1956 Broadway production of] My Fair Lady in New York and she fascinated me." Who can blame him?

Julie Andrews is a true treasure, and we genuinely can't picture Mia's royal grandmother being played by anyone else.

Rumors are circulating that The Princess Diaries 3 might finally be on the way, and Julie Andrews has said that she would love to do the third installment as a tribute to the late Garry Marshall.


What is your favorite Princess Diaries moment? Let us know in the comments!

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