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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.
Source : IMDb
The idea for the film arose from Andre Gregory's attempt to have his life story chronicled by a biographer, and Wallace Shawn simultaneously coming up with an idea for a story about two people having a conversation. Gregory and Shawn, who had become friends through the theatre, decided to collaborate on the project, and both agreed that it should be filmed rather than produced as a play. Although the film was based on actual events in the actors' lives, Shawn and Gregory denied (in an interview by film critic Roger Ebert) that they were playing themselves, and stated that if they remade the film they would swap the two characters to prove their point. In an interview with Noah Baumbach in 2009, Shawn said that "I actually had a purpose as I was writing this: I wanted to destroy that guy that I played, to the extent that there was any of me there. I wanted to kill that side of myself by making the film, because that guy is totally motivated by fear."
The screenplay went through numerous developmental changes in location until being finalized as being set during a dinner at a restaurant. While Shawn was trying to find someone to direct the film, he received a phone call from director Louis Malle, who had read a copy of the screenplay via a mutual friend and insisted that he work on the project, stating that he wanted to direct, produce the film, or work on it in any capacity. Shawn initially thought that the call was a prank due to Malle's stature and fame. Malle later suggested that the dinner setup would not work based on a rehearsal where Gregory was talking while eating. Despite Malle's stature, Shawn argued over the length of the screenplay over the inclusion of numerous scenes that would have produced a three-hour film. Malle won many of the arguments which led to script cuts, but lost two arguments over scenes that were kept in the film.
My Dinner with Andre was filmed in the then-abandoned Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia. Lloyd Kaufman was the production manager on the film, and Troma Entertainment provided production support.
The Boston Society of Film Critics Awards awarded the film the title "Best American Film" in 1982 and awarded Gregory and Shawn its prize for best screenplay. Roger Ebert, along with his TV partner Gene Siskel, had also praised the film and helped bring public attention to it; in 1999, Ebert added it to his Great Movies essay series.
Source : Wikipedia