Jason Segel Talks Taking on Different Roles at ‘The End of the Tour’ Premiere

Jason Segel James Ponsoldt Jesse Eisenberg
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Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg philosophized about their roles in the David Foster Wallace biopic “The End of the Tour” during its Los Angeles premiere on Monday at the WGA Theatre in Beverly Hills.

Rather than attempting to cover Wallace’s entire life, the film is adapted from journalist David Lipsky’s acclaimed memoir “Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself,” which describes a five-day interview between the two writers. On playing Wallace, Segel said that, although the character is more serious than many of his previous roles, it represents his life’s current chapter.

“I’ve sort of reached an age where I (am) thinking about different stuff than I was in my 20s,” he said. “The things that I’ve done best in my career have been things that have been really honest about where I am at a given time. Like, when I think about ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall,’ that was where I was at that time. And now in my 30s I’m thinking about different stuff, and I like to explore those areas.”

Eisenberg, fresh off an appearance at Comic-Con for “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” opened up about meeting Segel for the first time the night before shooting the film. The actor said that given the relationship between the two characters, it was an advantage.

“It’s not like you’re meeting us 10 years into our relationship, so it was actually helpful to not know each other,” he said. “(We could) kind of feel each other out as our characters do, and develop our relationship in the same way the characters do: tentatively, then kind of competitively, then aggressively, then ultimately resolutely.”

Director James Ponsoldt confessed that he was surprised at how unfamiliar the two actors were with each other before working on the film. “I’ve watched pretty much everything they’ve ever been in. It shocked me to know that they had not worked together before, and they had not met each other before this.”

Mamie Gummer and Micky Sumner also attended the premiere and after-party on the rooftop of the Sixty Beverly Hills hotel.

Given that the film is about two writers, perhaps its most crucial component is the screenplay, adapted from Lipsky’s memoir by Donald Margulies. The screenwriter said it was an honor to make a movie about Wallace, but when faced with the prospect of adapting the author’s original work, the answer was a resounding no.

“I wouldn’t,” he said. “For me, this was a very nice alternative to that. I think that his fiction is arguably unfilmable, or certainly extremely challenging. But I think that what our film does is that it captures the mind, the world view, the humor and the intellect of this man.”