Yesterday I ran a story saying that Sam Jones (director of I Am Going to Break Your Heart, the Wilco documentary) was working with David Foster Wallace on a screenplay of Infinite Jest, Wallace’s massive masterpiece. It turns out my sources were wrong.
Glenn Kenny, long a friend of the late writer, smelled something resembling horse puckey in that story. He didn’t believe that Wallace would get involved in a film version of his work; he had only given John Krasinski his basic approval on the film version of Brief Interviews With Hideous Men. And it turns out that Kenny was right, according to Wallace’s agent Bonnie Nadell. There was a script by Keith Bunin, it was apparently quite good, and Sam Jones was attached to direct, but that option ran out and Wallace not only didn’t work on the script, he never even read it. Wallace, Kenny says in an email to me, ‘held the film industry at arm’s length or better, and trusted Bonnie’s judgment with respect to these issues. He accepted that adaptation of “Infinite Jest” in the sense that he accepted that Bonnie was looking after it, and of course he accepted the check for the option.’ That option is once again out there. Nadell hopes that if the option does get picked up (and I’d bet that happens) the Bunin script comes along for the new ride.
I’m glad that Kenny found out the truth, and I’m happy to retract the incorrect parts of it. I don’t believe that my source was lying to me – I think he was simply incorrect, as happens sometimes when you’re dealing with sources who are close to but not always intimately involved in productions. My apologies for any confusion caused by the incorrect aspects of the original story.