Today, amid the roiling Occupy Wall Street protests, we bumped into Andre Gregory, who wrote and acted in the iconic 1981 film, “My Dinner With Andre.”
Standing on the sidewalk outside Trinity Church on Broadway, Gregory, now 77 and looking very fit, said he decided to attend the protest because he felt the Occupy movement bodes well for a nation that has become too passive and accepting of its problems and mistakes.
“I was very upset during the Bush years by the apathy of the country, and I feel that this puts the country in great danger of totalitarianism,” he says. “People are now doing something that is incredible positive for the country.”
Gregory compared the U.S. To Germany during the Weimar, when it was crippled by hyper-inflation and one collapsed coalition government after another. Those problems led to the rise of the Nazi regime.
Noting that people today often question what Occupy Wall Street stands for, Gregory recalled the early days of the Vietnam era protests, in which he was involved. “We got the same question,” he said. “What’s this going to accomplish? Well, it’s like the difference between when you fall in love, and when you get married. Right now, it’s the possibility of something possible.”
Gregory also referred to something his friend, the late historian Howard Zinn, once told him: “Nothing ever gets done in Washington unless the people are on their feet.”
“My Dinner with Andre,” which also starred Wallace Shawn and was directed by Louis Malle, depicted a wide ranging conversation between two friends in a restaurant over topics including the theater, life, and the search for spirituality and happiness.