Bill Hader to Star in Film Inspired By David Foster Wallace’s Luxury Cruise Essay
“I have filled 3 Mead notebooks trying to figure out whether it was Them or Just Me.”
While the mere idea of Jason Segel in the role of beloved novelist and essayist David Foster Wallace was enough to give DFW superfans the howling fantods, the How I Met Your Mother actor largely acquitted himself in this summer’s The End of the Tour.
Now, Hollywood will be taking another crack at bringing Wallace’s verbose anxiety to film. The Wrap is reporting that Bill Hader has been cast in a new film based loosely on Wallace’s classic essay “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again,” which finds the writer in full-on mind-joggle mode as he tries to come to grips with the twin pulls of gluttony and consciousness aboard a luxury cruise. (The essay was originally published by Harper’s under the name “Shipping Out” and is available to read on the magazine’s website.)
Because nobody wants to watch Bill Hader wearing a bandana and scribbling furiously in a notebook at his stateroom’s desk for two hours, the film, which is called Empress of Serenity, diverges from Wallace’s original story. Hader plays an animal rights attorney who embarks upon a forty-five-day cruise with his father following the death of his mother. Given such weighty subject matter—and the fact that the film is being directed by Jesse Andrews, the novelist who wrote Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and adapted it for the screenplay for this year’s film of the same name—it seems reasonable to expect Empress of Serenity to do justice to Wallace’s considerable moral vision and comedic voice.