Q&A with Annie Baker and Wallace Shawn

When Dan Talbot, the pioneering distributor and exhibitor of international art films, read playwrights Wallace Shawn and André Gregory’s script for My Dinner with André, he was so excited about the project that he helped director Louis Malle procure production funding from Gaumont. The concept was to depict an encounter between the two writers, playing fictionalized versions of themselves, as they discuss mortality, money, despair, and love over a meal at an Upper West Side restaurant—according to Gregory, Malle’s one direction was to “talk faster.” By turns entertaining, confessional, funny, and moving, suffused with melancholy and joy alike, the film became a sensation at the art house upon its release, playing to packed theaters for a solid year, and went on to endure as a perennial favorite on the nascent home video circuit.