Me Talk Pretty One Day, published in 2000, is a bestselling collection of essays by American humorist David Sedaris. The book is separated into two parts. The first part consists of essays about Sedaris’s life before his move to Normandy, France, including his upbringing in suburban Raleigh, North Carolina, his time working odd jobs in New York City, and a visit to New York from a childhood friend and her bumpkinish girlfriend. The second section, "Deux", tells of Sedaris’s move to Normandy with his partner Hugh, often drawing humor from his efforts to live in France without speaking the French language and his frustrated attempts to learn it. Prior to publication, several of the essays were read by the author on the Public Radio International program, This American Life.
In April 2001, Variety reported that Sedaris had sold the Me Talk Pretty One Day film rights to director Wayne Wang, who was adapting four stories from the book for Columbia Pictures with hopes of beginning shooting in late 2001. At the time, Sedaris commented, "It's just one of those things I had never considered. Like, 'What if I de-clawed a kitten?' But I like Wayne Wang a lot." He recommended Jack Lemmon to play his father and Elaine Stritch for his mother. Wang had completed the script and begun casting when Sedaris asked to "get out of it," after a conversation with his sister aroused concerns as to how his family might be portrayed on screen. He wrote about the conversation and its aftermath in the essay "Repeat After Me", published in Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. Sedaris recounted that Wang was "a real prince. I didn't want him to be mad at me, but he was so grown up about it. I never saw how it could be turned into a movie anyway."