The late novelist and essayist David Foster Wallace is best remembered for writing "Infinite Jest," a sprawling 1,079-page opus full of ironic wit and dynamic, digressive prose.
The new trailer for James Ponsoldt's biographical drama "The End of the Tour," however, finds Wallace -- as played by Jason Segel -- standing on the precipice of fame and clinging to normalcy.
"I got a real serious fear of being a certain way," the long-haired, bandanna-clad writer says. "I treasure my regular-guyness."
Wallace is speaking to Rolling Stone journalist David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg), who tagged along for five days of the "Infinite Jest" promotional tour in 1996 and recounted the experience in the 2010 memoir "Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace."
A fellow writer thoroughly in awe of his subject, Lipsky counters: "You don't crack open a thousand-page book because you heard the author is a regular guy. You do it because he's brilliant."
Fame, identity, expectation and craft are just some of the subjects tackled in Ponsoldt's two-hander; the pleasures of "Die Hard" is another.
"These are two smart guys dealing with very real stuff," the director told the Los Angeles Times in January at the Sundance Film Festival, where "Tour" premiered. "It's who we mentally aspire to be, talking and wrestling with the things we actually deal with."
Though Wallace's estate and longtime publisher have objected to the film, releasing a statement last year saying they "neither endorse nor support" it, "Tour" earned positive reviews at Sundance.
A24 will release the film July 31.