In a statement released Monday, the estate of David Foster Wallace came out against the movie “The End of the Tour,” currently in production. The film stars Jason Segel as Wallace on a road trip with reporter David Lipsky, played by Jesse Eisenberg.
Lipsky traveled with Wallace for Rolling Stone in 1996, when “Infinite Jest” came out, but his article was never published. After Wallace’s 2008 suicide, Lipsky’s transcripts were published as a book “Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace.” The film “The End of the Tour” is said to be based on Lipsky’s book.
The statement reads:
“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.’ 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. The Trust was given no advance notice that this production was underway and, in fact, first heard of it when it was publicly announced. 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.”
Permission or not, fans of David Foster Wallace have been tracking the production. In March, New York Magazine’s Vulture posted a photograph of Segel as Wallace, taken during filming at the Mall of America.
The statement continues:
“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.”
Meanwhile, Wallace’s work continued to be a cultural touchstone. On Sunday, Salon ran a story that cited him in its headline: “David Foster Wallace was right: Irony is ruining our culture.”