Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky spent five days in March 1996, traveling in Illinois and Minnesota with acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace as he toured to promote his groundbreaking, epic novel “Infinite Jest.”
The 1,079-page book was written as a satirical commentary on American culture, specifically entertainment and addiction. Lipsky had planned to write a profile on Wallace for Rolling Stone magazine.
When the reporter got reassigned to another story about heroin troubles in Seattle, the story about Wallace was put on hold and he ended up not writing the profile.
After Wallace’s suicide in 2008, Lipsky decided to revisit his recorded interviews with Wallace, which he published in a 2010 book, titled “Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace.” The book is essentially a transcript of the interviews that took place 18 years earlier.
The story about the five-day interview has since been made into a movie, “The End of the Tour” which will be shown at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 17, at Star Hall, 159 E. Center St.
The free movie screening is a collaboration between the Grand County Public Library and the Utah Film Center. The library began partnering with the film center in 2011, to bring thoughtful, independent films – plus documentaries and the occasional foreign film – to local audiences.
“Moab has one main theater that shows (only) mainstream films,” Grand County Library Assistant Jessie Magleby said.
Being able to partner with the Film Center to bring other kinds of films is a unique opportunity for Moab, she said.
Films are selected from a list of suggestions that library patrons come up with, as well as recommendations from the Utah Film Center.
Watching the “The End of the Tour” is an “opportunity to gain insight into a writer who is interesting, and a little bit baffling,” Magleby said.
“He was crazy intelligent,” Magleby said. “(‘The End of the Tour’ is) very thought-provoking. And the movie is accessible even if you’re not familiar with his work.”
In 1997, Wallace won a MacArthur Fellowship, or “Genius Award,” for his writing, and is still considered among the most influential and innovative American writers, Magleby said.
Wallace was also a short-story writer, essayist and a professor of English and creative writing.
According to historyhollywood.com, the David Foster Wallace Literary Trust, Wallace’s family and his longtime publisher Little, Brown and Company did not support or endorse the movie. They contend that Wallace would not have agreed to Lipsky’s 18-year old transcripts being repurposed into a movie.
The R-rated film, however, was a surprise hit at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, according to Utah Film Center Artistic Director Patrick Hubley.
According to Hubley, it features a sensitive and accomplished performance from Jason Segal – best known for his comedic roles – as Wallace, and a strong performance by Jesse Eisenberg as Lipsky.
“This well-crafted and critically acclaimed film provides insight into the character and personality of the troubled author,” Hubley said.
While the movie screening is free, donations are gladly accepted, Magleby said.
“The End of the Tour” comes to Star Hall on March 17
“(It’s) very thought-provoking. And the movie is accessible even if you’re not familiar with (David Foster Wallace’s) work.”
When: Thursday, March 17, at 7 p.m.
Where: Star Hall, 159 E. Center St.