1 INT. LIPSKY’S WEST END AVE APT/LIVING ROOM/OFFICE - NYC -
2008 - NIGHT
A bright, unpretentious two-bedroom in a pre-war building,
cluttered with books and papers, reflecting its owner’s
lively mind. The decor is that of a perennial grad student’sdigs, the bachelor pad of a New York intellectual.
A dog curled up on the sofa beside him, DAVID LIPSKY, aboyishly handsome forty-three, quick-witted, tightly-wound,
smokes and types speedily from scraps of handwritten notes,
surrounded by books on his current journalistic subject,
climate change. A stack of copies of his recent publishing
success -Absolutely American - looms nearby.
His iPhone vibrates. He gets up and answers the call.
Hey, Bob, what’s up?
(over phone) Listen: According tothis unconfirmed report... DavidWallace is dead.
(disputing) What? No no no no, must
be a college prank or something...
Lipsky rapidly googles “david foster wallace death” and scansthe news.
I thought if anybody knew whether it
was true or not...
Shock registers on Lipsky’s face.
NPR reporter ROBERT
ROBERT SIEGEL (O.S.)
Now a remembrance of writer David
3 INT. NPR - NYC - 2008 - DAY 3
Lipsky is being escorted to a booth by a college-age INTERN.
ROBERT SIEGEL (O.S.) (CONT’D)
He was found dead, an apparentsuicide, on Friday night. Wallace'snovel, "Infinite Jest," brought himfame and a wide audience.
4 INT. NPR - NYC - 2008 - MOMENTS LATER 4
Lipsky, wearing headphones, heart pounding, nervously waitsfor a cue from a woman producer in the control booth.
ROBERT SIEGEL (O.S.)
...Writer David Lipsky has thisappreciation.
The producer signals to Lipsky, who reads his preparedremarks from his shaky hands.
“To read David Foster Wallace was to
feel your eyelids pulled open.
EXT. BOOKSTORE - NYC - 2008 - DAY 2
Lipsky, pensive, smoking, walks down the street on a crispautumn day, stops at a window display honoring Wallace withhis picture and copies of his books The Broom of the System,
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, A Supposedly Fun ThingI’ll Never Do Again and his magnum opus, Infinite Jest.
Some writers specialize in the away-
from-home experience. They’ve
safaried, eaten across Italy, covered
a war. Wallace offered his alive
7 INT. LIPSKY’S WEST END AVE APT/CLOSET - NYC - 2008 - DAY 7
Lipsky rummages closet shelves until he locates a particularshoe box labeled “DFW.” He opens the box: inside are amotley bunch of audio tapes - eight or nine of them -
numbered, scrawled with dates from four days in March 1996.
...cutting through our sleepyaquarium, our standard T.V., stores,
political campaigns. Writers who can
do this, like Salinger and Fitzgerald,
forge an unbreakable bond withreaders...
He digs out a quaintly clunky SONY tape recorder that wasstate-of-the-art back in 1996. It doesn’t play. He removes
its batteries and looks in drawers for new ones. No luck.
INT. LIPSKY’S WEST END AVE APT/BATHROOM/OFFICE - NYC - 2008 -7A
Lipsky takes the batteries out of his electric toothbrush and
puts them in the recorder.
You didn’t slip into the books looking
for story, information, but for a
particular experience. The sensation,
for a certain number of pages, of
being David Foster Wallace.”
With a mixture of excitement and trepidation, he inserts
cassette #1 in the machine and presses play. The sound of
David’s voice mid-tape, is both comforting and moving.
(on the recording) -- there was, if
anything, a conscious attempt to not
give overt direction. Although, of
course, you end up becoming yourself.