The Wrap is reporting that Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) has agreed to play the late David Foster Wallace, author of the novel Infinite Jest, opposite Jesse Eisenberg as Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky in the drama The End of the Tour. The movie, which is being adapted from Lipsky’s book Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace by Donald Margulies (Off the Black), will be directed by James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now) and produced by Anonymous Content (The Fifth Estate, Winter’s Bone).
The End of the Tour will follow the relationship between Wallace and Lipsky during the book tour for Infinite Jest, Wallace’s famously complex masterwork. Rolling Stone sent Lipsky to cover the tour after early glowing early reviews turned it into a nationwide event. Early plot snippets of the movie hint almost at a black comedy, as the two will apparently spend most of the film discussing subjects such as literature, movies, women, depression (Wallace killed himself in 2008), and fame. It’s an angle that would certainly seem to fit the two leads, and one supported by reviews of the source material (NPR’s Michael Schaub once called the book “a startlingly sad yet deeply funny postscript to the career of one of the most interesting American writers of all time.”) Segel is known for his comic roles, but could be looking to stretch himself by signing onto the project, and Ponsoldt’s would appear to have a penchant for handling close character drama, albeit in a very limited sample size.
Infinite Jest has alternatively been called “1,100 pages of mind-blowing inventiveness and disarming sweetness” (A.O. Scott, New York Times) and “bloated, boring, gratuitous, and — perhaps especially — uncontrolled” (Dale Peck, London Review of Books), but has generally garnered a positive reception since its publication in 1996. In 2010, it appeared on a TIME Magazine list of the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923.
There’s no word yet on a start date for The End of the Tour, but with Ponsoldt busy directing Hilary Clinton biopic Rodham, writing and directing an adaptation of Julianna Baggott’s dystopian novel Pure, and scripting both the film adaptation of Broadway show Pippin and the adaptation of Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock (another novel by the author of Silver Linings Playbook), this could sit on the back burner for a while until his schedule frees up.