David Lipsky on his five days with David Foster Wallace that became The End of the Tour
The End of the Tour tells the story of two writers. One is celebrated author David Foster Wallace, played by Jason Segel. The other is David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg), the Rolling Stone journalist who shared the last leg of Wallace’s book tour for his famed novel Infinite Jest. The film is based on Lipsky’s “biography in five days,” Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, which he wrote after Wallace committed suicide in 2008.
Lipsky interviewed Wallace back in 1996 just as Infinite Jest was blowing up the literary world. It was a heady time for the cerebral Wallace, as he was forced to navigate the vagaries of fame and fandom while contemplating how he fit into the world and what he would do for a follow-up. Lipsky left his five-day adventure with Wallace with a huge piece ready for the pages of Rolling Stone, but the magazine’s editor had different plans and Lipsky’s story never ran.
Lipsky visited EW Radio’s Inside Movies with Nicole Sperling last week to discuss all things Wallace. Take a listen to Lipsky explaining how he felt about not being able to write about Wallace immediately at the time of Wallace’s book debut.
Lipsky also pushed for Eisenberg to play him in the film. While the writer didn’t spend time on the set for fear that his presence would disrupt the movie-making process, he spent a few hours with Eisenberg beforehand discussing the intricacies of how reporters do their job.
So how would Wallace feel about the movie? It’s obviously a question that can’t be answered, though Lipsky thought endlessly about it when he put his book together in 2010. Wallace understood how profile pieces were compiled and was wary of being perceived through the eyes of another. Lipsky, therefore, tried to present Wallace in as unfiltered a way as possible. Here is his complete answer on the matter.
The End of the Tour is in theaters now.