Jonah Hill is a two-time Oscar nominee, James Franco can switch back and forth between comedy and drama like the best bi-curious performers, and Seth Rogen is about to co-star next to Michael Fassbender in Danny Boyle’s awards contender “Steve Jobs.” So all the Apatow alum are flexing their creative muscles in dramatic territory. And while you might not think you’d ever hear Jason Segel and serious Oscar contender in the same sentence, this became a reality this previous winter. Segel wowed critics at Sundance in James Ponsoldt’s “The End Of The Tour,” an indie drama where he stars as celebrated author David Foster Wallace who committed suicide in 2008.
The movie, however, is not about Wallace’s death or the lead-up to it, but instead is about a life-changing five-day road trip that a young Rolling Stone writer (played by Jesse Eisenberg) ventured on when writing a profile on the famous, and semi-reclusive, media-shy novelist. So ostensibly, “The End Of The Tour” is about Wallace on a book tour, the Rolling Stone scribe shadowing him for a feature and their complex repartee. If it sounds like a compacted talk-fest, it is, but it’s an absolutely terrific one that touches on many avenues of creativity and artistry, including ego, fear, self-loathing, perception and many other universal themes about life. Here’s the official synopsis:
THE END OF THE TOUR tells the story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter (and novelist) David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel), which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, Infinite Jest. As the days go on, a tenuous yet intense relationship seems to develop between journalist and subject. The two men bob and weave around each other, sharing laughs and also possibly revealing hidden frailties – but it’s never clear how truthful they are being with each other. Ironically, the interview was never published, and five days of audio tapes were packed away in Lipsky’s closet. The two men did not meet again. The film is based on Lipsky’s critically acclaimed memoir about this unforgettable encounter, written following Wallace’s 2008 suicide. Both Segel and Eisenberg reveal great depths of emotion in their performances and the film is directed with humor and tenderness by Sundance vet James Ponsoldt from Pulitzer- Prize winner Donald Margulies’ insightful and heartbreaking screenplay.
Our Sundance review said “The End Of The Tour” is Ponsoldt’s best film to date (he directed the celebrated “The Spectacular Now” and “Smashed”) and wrote, “Intimate, soul-baring, and winning, [Ponsoldt’s movie] is a special, lovely little gem.”
Co-starring Anna Chlumsky, Mamie Gummer, Ron Livingston, Mickey Sumner and Joan Cusack, “The End Of The Tour” is mostly a two-hander, but it’s a winning one. A24 will release “The End Of The Tour” on July 31 in limited release. Watch the first trailer below and check out the new poster too.