Jason Segel, if nothing else, is a man of many influences. In this week’s episode of Indiewire Influencers, he talks with Indiewire Editor in Chief Dana Harris about “Primal Fear,” Roald Dahl books, Jimmy Stewart and Peter Sellers’ performance in “Being There” – and that’s just the beginning. In many ways, the culmination of those combined cultural experiences shapes his work as David Foster Wallace in James Ponsoldt’s “The End of the Tour.” In playing the late, beloved writer, Segel found a challenge that had been lingering on his periphery for a while.
For Segel, making the transition from high school athlete to aspiring comedian to respected actor came with its own challenges. “You spend a lot of time privately,” Segel explained, “saying ‘If I only had this kind of material’ or ‘If people really knew what I was capable of’ and then when you’re given the opportunity, all of a sudden, you’re confronted with the possibility that you might be wrong.”
That opportunity came from Ponsoldt, who had a sincere, if unexpected way of summarizing why Segel might be the perfect fit for the part. “He said that in all my comedy, he could see something sad behind my eyes,” Segel said, adding that “He also said that it was important that we not approach the part with too much gravitas… and to remember that he was a dude.”
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For more, including which 90s one-hit wonder led to a surprising portion of the conversation that inspired the film, listen to the full interview above.
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