David Sedaris on Film for the First Time: C.O.G.

David Sedaris has long been opposed to seeing his work adapted for the screen. He told the New York Times that a decade ago, he began work on a movie adaptation of his essay collection Me Talk Pretty One Day - but stopped after his sister Lisa ‘worried that someone fat would portray her’.

‘It just became an automatic no’ after that, he said.

Enter Kyle Patrick Alvarez, a 29-year-old director with a small budget and just one (small) film on his CV. A passionate fan of Sedaris, he’d wanted to film his essay ‘C.O.G.’ since he was 14 years old.

Jonathan Groff in *C.O.G.*, a film based on David Sedaris's essay.

Jonathan Groff in C.O.G., a film based on David Sedaris's essay.

The essay is based on Sedaris’s experiences in his late twenties as an apple picker in the orchards of Oregon, where he found himself at odds with the locals and the religious right.

‘I saw it as dark and funny and a chance to hopefully make something special,’ says Alvarez. ‘It’s also not about his family, which made me think I had a shot at getting him to say yes.’

After being knocked back by Sedaris’s agents, he took a chance by turning up to a book reading and pitching his idea for filming C.O.G. in person. He left Sedaris (who was ‘polite’) a DVD of his movie, Easier with Practice.

A few months later, home with nothing to do, Sedaris decided to watch Alavarez’s movie - and liked it it a lot. ‘I guess I just really liked Kyle,’ he told the New York Times.

C.O.G., which stars Jonathan Groff (Glee), Corey Stoll (Hemingway in Midnight in Paris) and Denis O'Hare, will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this week. It was made in 18 days, on a budget of less than $1 million.

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