Moving from Muppet hysteria to postmodernist hysteria, comedy actor Jason Segel is now signed on to play late visionary author David Foster Wallace (pictured above) for director James Ponsoldt (Smashed, The Spectacular Now). Ponsoldt’s newest film, entitled The End of the Tour, is a fact-based film surrounding Wallace’s road trip with Rolling Stone journalist David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) on the heels of his Infinite Jest book tour.
The End of the Tour is based on an article that Lipsky wrote about Wallace during their trip together. Although it was never published in Rolling Stone, Lipsky later compiled this material into a book, Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace, which was published in 2010.
Many fans of the iconoclastic author may be put off by having Jason Segel portray Wallace, who committed suicide in 2008 at the age of 46. Although Segel is a hard actor to dislike, he has spent much of his career playing irresponsible, goofy man-child characters. Wallace’s fan base has grown largely since his death and his essays and fiction (including his magnum opus, the nearly 1,100 page Infinite Jest) have been very popular, especially among English majors. It is likely that there is some scepticism on whether Segel has the gravitas to pull off the performance.
For audiences unsure of whether Segel will bring the goods, at least they can rest more easily knowing that James Ponsoldt is behind the camera. His last film, The Spectacular Now, received a Special Jury Award for Acting at Sundance in January, for the exceptional work of young stars Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley.
Production on The End of the Tour will begin in February or March. We’ll keep you posted when we hear more.