David Foster Wallace’s estate is displeased with the upcoming “The End of the Tour,” starring Jason Segel as the late author, and has disavowed the biopic.
“The David Foster Wallace Literary Trust, David’s family, and David’s longtime publisher Little, Brown and Company wish to make it clear that they have no connection with, and neither endorse nor support ‘The End of the Tour,'” the statement said. “This motion picture is loosely based on transcripts from an interview David consented to eighteen years ago for a magazine article about the publication of his novel, ‘Infinite Jest.’ That article was never published and David would never have agreed that those saved transcripts could later be repurposed as the basis of a movie.”
Segel portrays Wallace on his 1996 book tour for “Infinite Jest.” Friendship, jealousy and competition emerges when David Lipsky (played by Jesse Eisenberg), a writer on assignment from Rolling Stone magazine, accompanies him on the tour. Wallace committed suicide in 2008.
James Ponsoldt (“The Spectacular Now”) is directing from a script by playwright Donald Margulies, who adapted Lipsky’s book “Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace.” Ponsoldt worked at Rolling Stone while he was in college.
Mark Manuel and Ted O’Neal’s Kilburn Media are financing the drama. Manuel and O’Neal are producing with Anonymous Content’s David Kanter and Matt DeRoss, along with James Dahl of Modern Man Films.
Financing was announced at the start of the Berlin film market in February and production began shortly afterward. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions acquired all rights in international English-speaking territories, Latin America and other European markets, but no U.S. distributor is on board yet.
“The Trust was given no advance notice that this production was underway and, in fact, first heard of it when it was publicly announced,” the statement also said. “For the avoidance of doubt, there is no circumstance under which the David Foster Wallace Literary Trust would have consented to the adaptation of this interview into a motion picture, and we do not consider it an homage.”
“The individuals and companies involved with the production were made keenly aware of the substantive reasons for the Trust’s and family’s objections to this project, yet persisted in capitalizing upon a situation that leaves those closest to David unable to prevent the production. The Trust will continue to review its legal options with respect to any commercial exploitation of the motion picture.”
“Most importantly, The David Foster Wallace Literary Trust and David’s family prefer that David be remembered for his extraordinary writing. The Trust remains open to working with a range of artists who are interested in respectful adaptations, and will vigilantly protect David’s literary and personal legacy.”