'September Issue' Reveals Real Anna Wintour: Does the 'Devil' Have a Heart?

"The September Issue," in theaters today, reveals what really happens at Vogue.

ByABC News
August 27, 2009, 6:02 PM

Aug. 28, 2009 — -- She's been called an ice queen, an alien and most notably, the devil that inspired Meryl Streep's frosty turn in "The Devil Wears Prada."

But according to the director of a new documentary, demonizing "Vogue" editor-in-chief Anna Wintour is so 2006.

"This is the real Anna Wintour," said R.J. Cutler of her depiction in "The September Issue," the film he directed about the meticulous making of "Vogue's" behemoth September 2007 edition.

Cutler condenses eight months of behind-the-scenes footage into a 90-minute fashion porn with Wintour, 59, serving as the immaculately dressed star. From New York to Paris and back again, he sought the answer to his central question -- who is Anna Wintour?

In keeping with her fictional versions, Wintour is unapologetically chilly. (Cutler called her corner office a "freezer of efficiency.") She subsists on Starbucks and reserves eye contact for a precious few, excluding even world-famous designers like Oscar de la Renta. She reduces her most amiable staffers to dramatic lamentations ("I want to kill myself!") and she isn't shy about her politically incorrect love of fur.

Not so fast.

Behind the ubiquitous bob and dark designer shades, Cutler claims he discovered - gasp! – a human being.

He said: "She's a mom and a boss and a business leader and a daughter… all rolled into one."

Indeed, during candid moments of "The September Issue," single mom Wintour is seen at home, dressed down in a Lacoste polo shirt, poring over back issues of "Vogue" with her college-age daughter, Bee Shaffer. Wintour appears as wounded as your average parent when Shaffer wrinkles her nose at the family business, saying she wants to pursue law instead.

"She wants me to be an editor … but I just don't want to take it too seriously," Shaffer said of fashion. "It's really amusing … but if that's your career, there are other things out there, seriously."