The End of the Tour actor discusses his role in the upcoming biopic

By Alexandra Hurtado
Updated June 18, 2015 07:15 PM
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Jason Segel knew he took on a momentous role in the David Foster Wallace biopic The End of the Tour.

Segel, 35, opened up about preparing to portray the famous writer, a departure from some of the actor’s funny, light-hearted roles.

Segel told PEOPLE at the opening night of the BAMcinemaFest in Brooklyn on Tuesday that stepping into the shoes of the renowned author was “a real honor.”

“It was exciting but you know we had to do it with a lot of empathy and a lot of love because [Wallace] means so much to so many people,” he said.

And prepping for the role involved a lot of studying on Segel’s part.

“I read and I read and I read,” Segel said, adding that Wallace’s 1000-page book, Infinite Jest, “unlocked the door” for him to deliver what is now being called one of his career-best performances.

The film tells the story of Wallace’s road trip with Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky (played by Jessie Eisenberg).

Before his death in 2008, Wallace was the subject of a Rolling Stone article that never got published. But the movie is based on Lipsky’s bestselling novel, Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace.

The book was published two years after Wallace committed suicide at age 46 and is based on Lipsky’s notes and transcripts from the days he spent traveling with Wallace.

The End of the Tour opens in theaters July 31.