The original classified ad upon which the film is based first appeared in Backwoods Home Magazine in 1997. It was written as last-minute filler by John Silveira, an employee of the magazine, who is credited in the film as "Time Travel Consultant" and also has a cameo. The ad was later featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992) in the "Headlines" segment, and eventually turned into an Internet meme before being developed into a screenplay.
When Darius gives Kenneth her written phone number, it begins with area code 206, which is the code for Seattle and neighboring cities. The next three digits suggest Redmond, Washington, but, as per filming guidelines, his thumb obscures the last two digits.