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This weekend the suicide of David Foster Wallace shocked many. For others it was one of the first times they had heard of the writer, who had been one of the best working in the English language. Many of those people are probably looking up his masterpiece novel, the 1000+ page Infinite Jest; the death of Wallace has created a whole new group of people who will have read some of the book, it seems.
If you think reading the book is tough, imagine making it into a movie. But sources tell me that exact thing had been happening in recent years, with Wallace himself collaborating on the script as recently as last year. He was working with Sam Jones – the director of I Am Trying to Break Your Heart (the Wilco documentary) and not the star of Flash Gordon – and the script has been described to me – surprise, surprise – as ‘massive.’
Interestingly, I can see adapting Infinite Jest, since the story could be conceivably winnowed down to a two and a half hour satirical sci-fi semi-thriller. But Infinite Jest isn’t just the story, and so much of what Wallace brought to the novel in terms of language and style would be completely lost. Infinite Jest doesn’t just seem unfilmable, you wonder why anyone would even try.
But now I’m intrigued, especially on learning that DFW was involved in the process. I’ve made some calls and I’m hoping to find out more and see what the status of this project is post-suicide. It’s morbid but not unlikely that Wallace’s death has made this book a hotter commodity. I bet that there were Hollywood suits and agents who walked into their offices this morning and had their assistants call around to find out who owns this book that gets such glowing notices in every obituary.
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