You don't have to have read a single word by author David Foster Wallace to understand the cat-and-mouse game that is played in the new film, The End of the Tour.
The film is based on the book Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself by David Lipsky, a Rolling Stone journalist who spent five days with Wallace in 1996 as the brilliant but troubled writer -- then at the height of his career -- was on the final leg a book tour for his behemoth novel Infinite Jest.
As Lipsky attempted to probe his subject, Wallace was by turns engaging, brooding and even angry -- letting Lipsky know that he was well aware of the devices the journalist was using to disarm him. Lipsky recorded many of their conversations and though he never did write an article about Wallace for Rolling Stone, he published a book about his road trip with the author that was published a couple of years after Wallace's suicide in 2008.
In the End of the Tour, Jesse Eisenberg plays Lipsky while Jason Segel takes on the role of Wallace -- quite the change from the rom-com roles he's typically known for.
When Segel and director James Ponsoldt, joined us in the studio, Ponsoldt said he first encountered Wallace's writing as a teenager and felt an instant connection to the work. Just as Ponsoldt was starting college, Wallace released his most famous, and most difficult novel, Infinite Jest. Ponsoldt said the time he spent with that book was "the most complicated relationship of my freshman year."
Ponsoldt said he had no problem imaging Segel playing Wallace, but Segel himself initially had some reservations. He said he was terrified to take on the part, but the challenge was also exciting. "To be honest," Segel said, "I hadn't been terrified in a long time, and I think that was something I was really, really missing."