James Ponsoldt, who is coming off the back of the acclaimed The Spectacular Now, is lining up his next project, with Segel and Jesse Eisenberg attached in the leads, The Wrap reports.
Segel will star as the award-winning author, who committed suicide in 2008, with Eisenberg starring opposite as Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky.
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies is adapting Lipsky’s original book, Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace.
The book is Lipsky’s account of joining Wallace on the last leg of his book tour for Infinite Jest, the novel that in many ways brought him international fame. Courtesy of Amazon, here’s the original synopsis:
In David Lipsky’s view, David Foster Wallace was the best young writer in America. Wallace’s pieces for Harper’s magazine in the ’90s were, according to Lipsky, “like hearing for the first time the brain voice of everybody I knew: Here was how we all talked, experienced, thought. It was like smelling the damp in the air, seeing the first flash from a storm a mile away. You knew something gigantic was coming.”
Then Rolling Stone sent Lipsky to join Wallace on the last leg of his book tour for Infinite Jest, the novel that made him internationally famous. They lose to each other at chess. They get iced-in at an airport. They dash to Chicago to catch a make-up flight. They endure a terrible reader’s escort in Minneapolis. Wallace does a reading, a signing, an NPR appearance. Wallace gives in and imbibes titanic amounts of hotel television (what he calls an “orgy of spectation”). They fly back to Illinois, drive home, walk Wallace’s dogs. Amid these everyday events, Wallace tells Lipsky remarkable things—everything he can about his life, how he feels, what he thinks, what terrifies and fascinates and confounds him—in the writing voice Lipsky had come to love. Lipsky took notes, stopped envying him, and came to feel about him—that grateful, awake feeling—the same way he felt about Infinite Jest. Then Lipsky heads to the airport, and Wallace goes to a dance at a Baptist church.
A biography in five days, Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself is David Foster Wallace as few experienced this great American writer. Told in his own words, here is Wallace’s own story, and his astonishing, humane, alert way of looking at the world; here are stories of being a young writer—of being young generally—trying to knit together your ideas of who you should be and who other people expect you to be, and of being young in March of 1996. And of what it was like to be with and—as he tells it—what it was like to become David Foster Wallace.
The pairing of Segel and Eisenberg for the roles is perhaps the single best casting news I’ve heard all year. Segel isn’t someone you’d immediately expect to be cast as Wallace, but the prospect of it is so brilliant to consider.
And with Ponsoldt at the helm, it’s easy to expect this is going to be a portrait of Wallace worthy of the man.
Production on The End of the Tour is tentatively scheduled to begin in February or March next year, before Eisenberg shoots action comedy American Ultra with Kristen Stewart in April. The question of course then becomes about where the film will debut. Given Ponsoldt’s history of launching his films on the festival circuit, with his most recent making their debuts at Sundance, a bow at somewhere like TIFF 2014 isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.