James Ponsoldt Talks THE END OF THE TOUR, Financing Challenges, His Shooting Style and More

     July 29, 2015

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Writer-director James Ponsoldt is back with yet another quality film, following up Smashed and The Spectacular Now with The End of the Tour. The movie stars Jason Segel as acclaimed author David Foster Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as David Lipsky, the Rolling Stone reporter who joined Wallace for the last leg of his Infinite Jest book tour. For five days, the two share stories, laughs and insecurities, but between Lipsky’s need to score a juicy story and Wallace’s apprehension about all the attention he’s getting, it isn’t clear if they’re being completely honest with each other.

With The End of the Tour making its way into select theaters on July 31st, I got the opportunity to sit down with Ponsoldt for a one-on-one interview to talk about his experience making the film. He discussed the financing video he made with Eisenberg and Segel, the challenge of respecting Wallace’s legacy and fans while also ensuring that the movie appeals to a wider audience, the idea of romanticizing an idol and how that changes when you spend time with them, how he highlighted Wallace’s perspective through his shot selection and tons more. You can catch it all in the video interview below.


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Image via A24 Films

James Ponsoldt:

  • 00:04 – His thoughts on this quote from writer Donald Margulies: “It’s no longer about the shock of the new. It’s about what you’re doing now and whether it is like what you were doing before.”
  • 01:12 – Going from being Margulies’ student in college to his collaborator on The End of the Tour.
  • 02:18 – The challenge of financing the movie; the video he made with Eisenberg and Segel.
  • 03:26 – On casting Eisenberg and Segel.
  • 04:46 – On Eisenberg and Segel as writers and how that helped them while working on this film.
  • 05:32 – How the movie changed from script to screen.
  • 06:32 – Making a movie that honors David Foster Wallace and his fans, but also making one that appeals to an even wider audience.
  • 08:24 – On the idea of being a fan of someone from a far and how that changes when you experience “their own messy humanity.”
  • 09:56 – Managing Wallace and Lipsky’s ever-changing relationship, especially when he didn’t get to shoot in order.
  • 11:13 – On Wallace’s house in the film; the little details to look out for.
  • 13:11 – On his shooting style; the choice to shoot on film.
  • 14:20 – Telling the story through Lipsky’s eyes but also conveying Wallace’s perspective.
  • 15:35 – Ponsoldt updates on the status of The Circle.
  • 17:01 – Does he have any interest in directing a big budget studio film?
  • 18:03 – His thoughts on remakes.

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