On June 17, 2015, atombash.com was on the scene for BAMcinemaFest 2015’s opening night premiere of A24’s “The End Of The Tour” at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House. The film is a moving tribute to the late David Foster Wallace. Following the release of his landmark 1996 novel “Infinite Jest,” Wallace (Jason Segel) goes on the road with Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg), sharing five days of intimate conversation and a profoundly unique connection. Based on Lipsky’s best-selling novel and penned by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies, the film boasts a career-best performance by Segel as the beloved author. Following the screening, guests made their way down the street to Brooklyn Masonic Temple for corn dogs, snow cones, fritos nachos, caramel corn, and Dark Horse wine. From the film: Jason Segel, Anna Chlumsky, Mickey Sumner, director James Ponsoldt, screenwriter Donald Margulies and author David Lipsky all walked the yellow carpet.
Sting and wife Trudie Styler came to support their daughter Mickey, who stars in the film. Other notables included Dana Delany, Gina Gershon, Fisher Stevens, Ebon Moss Bachrach, Imogen Poots, David Harbour, Debra Winger, Kentucker Audley, Jessica Joffe, Kate Lyn Sheil, Vampire Weekend’s Chris Tomson, Michael Weber, director Alex Ross Perry, John Krokidas, Geoffrey Fletcher, Antonio Campos, Gillian Robespierre, Pamela Romanowsky, Max Nichols, Craig Zobel, Rachel Grady, Heidi Ewing, Israel Horovitz, Hannah Ferguson, Hope Atherton, Rebecca Forteau, Stephanie LaCava, AndrewAndrew, Director of BAMcinematek Gabriele Caroti, the Editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal Gerard Baker, BAM President Karen Brooks Hopkins, incoming BAM President Katy Clark, and the commissioner of the Mayor’s office of Media and Entertainment Cynthia Lopez. Read our exclusive red carpet interviews below:
E: How was it working with Jason and Jesse?
AC: I actually never got to work with Jason at all! But Jesse’s fantastic. He’s really super earnest and so am I. And he’s really super helpful and there’s nothing like that.
E: What was your favorite moment on set?
AC: Oh wow I’m trying to think. I’m trying to think of what the best moment would be. Ha this always sounds crazy, it always makes it sound like we’re sleeping on the job, but I got to be sleeping in one scene and that’s always wonderful. I mean you get to be in bed and you get paid for it and not for anything nefarious. I guess that’s my favorite time from filming.
E: Do you have any personal connection with David Foster Wallace?
AC: None except that I’m in a movie about him. So that’s all I’ve got.
James Ponsoldt shared, “Guys can speak endlessly, unless they’re interrupted. No, this movie reminded me of all the road trips that I did years before, although the quality of the conversation that these two have in the film is far, far better than anything that I have.”
E: Did you have Jesse and Jason do any exercises for that banter?
JP: They had never actually worked together before, they had actually never met. So I really felt that on camera I was capturing two people who were becoming very good friends, which we’re lucky, if it was anything the opposite of that, the movie might not have worked. They’re both fantastic writers, fantastic speakers, they really loved hanging out together and we were really lucky to film them.
E: What were your favorite moments working with Jesse and Jason?
JP: They’re two of the funniest smartest quickest improvisers I’ve ever met in my life. I mean this was a scripted film but during the driving scenes I would yell cut and they would turn back and they would be still in the car and I would be in the process trailer and they would just start riffing. I mean the camera was rolling but they would try to make each other laugh. And I sort of wish that I were rolling with the camera because there was sort of a parallel improvised movie that could have been made with these funny guys on a road trip. They were just these great collaborators and really funny guys. I mean it was an insanely cold winter in Michigan but we were lucky to spend it with this cast and crew.
E: Would you like to work with them again?
JP: Yes absolutely. I would kill to do it. I’m excited to see Jesse’s play here in New York.
E: Your playwright teacher Donald Margulies was the screenwriter on this film. What was it like working with him?
JP: It was amazing. Donald was one of the best teachers I’ve had in college. I think you’re lucky if you have one or two professors that were that good. My father was a college professor for over thirty years as a teacher and Donald was a real mensch. He really understood. He didn’t try to project his own creative values on the students in class and he really listened to them and tried to understand what they were trying to do and bring it out of them. Long after I graduated college he stayed in my life and has stayed supportive, which is a really amazing thing. And so he wrote a stunningly beautiful script and to be able to direct that felt like I was completing some circle in a way which was just deeply deeply rewarding
E: How did you get those dogs to cooperate?
JP: David Foster Wallace famously had rescue dogs that no one else wanted that he did not know how to nor did he want to discipline. We needed dogs that were just crazy and went all over the place, so we didn’t get quote on quote film dogs. Sort of just random dogs and we just put food everywhere. Tuna fish, chicken, you know, put it under everything and let them attack the actors’ pockets and necks and it looked great. And then the animals were very honest and the actors had to be equally honest.
E: What attracted you to this project?
JP: I mean it was my love of David Foster Wallace’s writing. I mean his writing has meant so much to me over the course of my life and they transformed me, moved me, made me a better person. And I think we wanted to tell a story that would dignify his life, tell David Lipsky’s story, tell the story of success, entertainment, pleasure, shared depression, happiness, how to live your life well and the shortcomings of comparing your life to someone else and how that could be very tough. Learn to be your own person; learn how to be happy on your own terms.
E: What was it like working with Jason and Jesse?
MS: It was amazing. I’m sorry that’s such a boring answer but it really was amazing. They might be the sweetest, most grounded actors I’ve ever met. And so dedicated to their roles. James might be the most grounded, positive, always smiling director I worked with. We were shooting in the Grand Rapids and it was just fun. I like the Grand Rapids.
E: What was it like trying to keep up with them?
MS: You don’t keep up. You just listen and laugh. Jesse has the smartest, quickest wit I have ever experienced. And there’s no keeping up.