My Dinner with Andre

Synopsis: Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory, apparently playing themselves, share their lives over the course of an evening meal at a restaurant. Gregory, a theater director from New York, is the more talkative of the pair. He relates to Shawn his tales of dropping out, traveling around the world, and experiencing the variety of ways people live, such as a monk who could balance his entire weight on his fingertips. Shawn listens avidly, but questions the value of Gregory's seeming abandonment of the pragmatic aspects of life.
Director(s): Louis Malle
Production: New Yorker Films
  2 wins.
 
IMDB:
7.8
Rotten Tomatoes:
91%
PG
Year:
1981
110 min
2,148 Views

The life of a playwright is tough.

It's not easy,

as some people seem to think.

You work hard writing plays,

and nobody puts them on.

You take up other lines of work

to try to make a living...

I became an actor...

...and people don't hire you.

So you just spend your days

doing the errands of your trade.

Today I'd had to be up

by 10.:
00 in the morning...

...to make some

important phone calls.

Then I'd gone to the stationery store

to buy envelopes. Then to the Xerox shop.

There were dozens of things to do.

By 5.:
00 I'd finally made it

to the post office...

...and mailed off

several copies of my plays...

...meanwhile checking constantly

with my answering service...

...to see if my agent

had called with any acting work.

In the morning, the mailbox

had just been stuffed with bills.

What was I supposed to do?

How was I supposed to pay them?

After all, I was already doing my best.

I've lived in this city all my life.

I grew up on the Upper East Side...

...and when I was 10 years old

I was rich, I was an aristocrat...

...riding around in taxis,

surrounded by comfort...

...and all I thought about

was art and music.

Now I'm 36,

and all I think about is money.

It was now 7.:
00...

...and I would have liked nothing better than

to go home and have my girlfriend Debby...

...cook me a nice, delicious dinner.

But for the last several years

our financial circumstances...

...have forced Debby to work

three nights a week as a waitress.

After all, somebody had to

bring in a little money.

So I was on my own.

But the worst thing of all was that I'd been

trapped by an odd series of circumstances...

...into agreeing to have dinner

with a man I'd been avoiding literally for years.

His name was Andr Gregory.

At one time he'd been

a very close friend of mine...

...as well as my most valued colleague

in the theater.

In fact, he was the man

who had first discovered me...

...and put one of my plays

on the professional stage.

When I'd known Andr, he'd been at the height

ofhis career as a theater director.

The amazing work he did with his company,

the Manhattan Project...

...had just stunned audiences

throughout the world.

But then something

had happened to Andr.

He dropped out of the theater.

He sort of disappeared.

For months at a time, his family seemed

only to know that he was traveling...

...in some odd place like Tibet...

...which was really weird

because he loved his wife and children.

He never used to like

to leave home at all.

Or else you'd hear that someone had met him

at a party and he'd been telling people...

...that he talked with trees

or something like that.

Obviously, something terrible

had happened to Andr.

The whole idea of meeting him

made me very nervous.

I mean, I really wasn't up

for that sort of thing.

I had problems of my own.

I mean, I couldn't help Andr.

Was I supposed to be a doctor, or what?

- Hello.

- Hello.

- Here you go.

- Thank you.

- Yes, sir.

- Ah, sir, my name is Wallace Shawn.

I'm expected at the table

of Andr Gregory.

That table will be a moment, sir.

If you like,

you may have a drink at the bar.

- Good evening, sir.

- Uh, could I have a club soda, please?

I'm sorry, sir.

We only serve Source de Pavilion.

Oh, that'd be fine, thank you.

When I'd called Andr, and he'd suggested

that we meet in this particular restaurant...

I'd been rather surprised, because

Andr's taste used to be very ascetic...

...even though people have always known

that he had some money somewhere.

I mean, how the hell else could he have

been flying off to Asia and so on...

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Wallace Shawn

Wallace Michael Shawn (born November 12, 1943) is an American actor, voice actor, comedian, playwright and essayist. His film roles have included those of Wally Shawn in the Louis Malle directed comedy-drama My Dinner with Andre (1981), Vizzini in The Princess Bride (1987), Mr. James Hall in Clueless (1995) and providing the voice of Rex in the Toy Story franchise. He has also appeared in a variety of television series, including recurring roles as Grand Nagus Zek in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–1999) and Cyrus Rose in Gossip Girl (2008–2012). His plays include Obie Award winning Aunt Dan and Lemon (1985), The Designated Mourner (1996) and Grasses of a Thousand Colors (2008). He also co-wrote the screenplay for My Dinner with Andre with Andre Gregory, and he scripted A Master Builder (2013), a film adaptation of the play by Henrik Ibsen, which he also starred in. His book Essays was published in 2009 by Haymarket Books. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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