David Sedaris Heads to Screen for the First Time With Sundance Film

11.28.2012

By Jerry Portwood

Starring Jonathan Groff and Denis O'Hare, 'C.O.G.' is based on a short story from Sedaris's best-selling 1997 essay collection, 'Naked'

Kyle Patrick Alvarez's film C.O.G. will be part of the Sundance Dramatic Competition in 2013, according to IndieWire. Even more interesting for many is that David Sedaris fans will finally see a cinematic translation of one of his stories to the big screen after being adamant for years to not allow any adaptations to protect his family. But this story does not include anyone from his family. Not only that it stars two openly gay actors, Denis O'Hare and Jonathan Groff.

C.O.G. is based on Sedaris's experiences in his twenties when he went to the Pacific Northwest to work as an apple picker. As many recall it was a profoundly funny and quirky essay that helped put Sedaris on the literary map. Once he's in Oregon, Sedaris found himself at odds with the locals, including a one-legged veteran evangelist named Jon (played by O'Hare in the film), who takes David under his wing.

It began production in October and Alvarez explained to IndieWire at the time that he always thought there was something cinematic about the story, so he started pursuing it. "But everyone was like 'No, no, thanks for trying,'" Alvarez says.
So he decided to go one of Sedaris's book readings and give him a copy of his last film, Easier With Practice, his 2009 directorial debut that won the "Someone To Watch" Indie Spirit at Sundance that year. According to Alvarez, a few months later, Sedaris wrote him an email saying that he liked the movie and was interested in why Alvarez wanted to turn C.O.G. into a movie. Alvarez says he spent all night writing him back with a six-page email. Sedaris ended up saying yes.

"I've tried to capture his tone and spirit, instead of recreating it," Alvarez said. "I feel like he does it so well. His audio books are among the best of all time. Why would I try and recreate that? I'm just going to do my own thing and he's been so supportive of that." But he says he has been careful not to impersonate Sedaris in the film with his lead actor, who we assume is played by Jonathan Groff.

Tags: Popnography
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