My Dinner with André

by André Gregory, Wallace Shawn

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

The characters in this understated film (not including the extras who play the servers and other diners in the restaurant) are André Gregory, who is named in the title, and Wallace Shawn. Both Gregory and Shawn wrote the film, which was directed by Louis Malle.

Both men work in the New York theater. Both Gregory and Shawn have worked as playwrights, theater directors, and actors. In 1981, when the My Dinner with André was filmed, Gregory was better known for his directing, such as a 1970 production of Alice in Wonderland, and Shawn was better known for his appearances in films, such as Woody Allen's Manhattan (1979). They have been friends for many years.

Shawn narrates the film, which starts with a cab ride to the restaurant where he will meet Gregory, and a voiceover in which Shawn compares his early life as the privileged son of The New Yorker editor William Shawn to his present struggles in the world of drama. He also poses questions about Gregory, who disappeared from the world of drama to pursue another kind of life.

In 2013, there was a sequel of sorts to My Dinner with André. André Gregory: Before and After Dinner focuses specifically on Gregory's theatrical work and family history. It also reunites Gregory with Wallace Shawn and documents their work on a theatrical production.

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