David Foster Wallace biopic

David Foster Wallace fans aren’t the only ones harboring doubts about James Ponsoldt‘s upcoming biopic The End of the Tour. As it turns out, the late writer’s family is none too thrilled about the project, either.

In a new statement, the David Foster Wallace Literary Trust stressed that they “neither endorse nor support” the project, which is based on journalist David Lipsky‘s notes from a never-published story. What’s more, the Trust plans to “review its legal options,” potentially blocking distribution of the film.

Here’s the statement via the LAT:

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.

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.

The End of the Tour follows Wallace on a book tour for ‘Infinite Jest’ in the mid-’90s. Lipsky tags along on the trip, having been assigned to write a piece on Wallace for Rolling Stone. Although the story never ran, the real-life Lipsky eventually compiled his notes into a book following Wallace’s death in 2008.

The film has been shooting for weeks already, with Jason Segel as Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as Lipsky. The casting came under heavy scrutiny last month when the first photos of Segel in costume surfaced.

How the Wallace estate’s complaints will affect the film is unclear. So far, they have not filed a lawsuit, and it’s unclear what would happen even if they did. But the ensuing legal complications and negative publicity could harm the film anyway, by scaring off distributors and audiences. Ponsoldt already had his work cut out for him, and winning Wallace’s fans won’t be any easier now that Wallace’s family has come out against the project.

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