It concerns Jean Lenauer, who played the waiter in My Dinner with André (1981). "Louis" is Louis Malle, the film's director. "Wally" is Wallace Shawn.
The first day of shooting, Louis wanted to fire him, because of course he wasn't a waiter [laughs], so he didn't know what to do with the serving of stuff. So Wally and I, who grew up on the upper East Side [laughs], been to these restaurants, we stayed up all night with Jean, coaching him on being a waiter.André Gregory tells this story to filmmaker Noah Baumbach in a video interview included in the Criterion Collection edition of My Dinner with André. A thousand thanks to Criterion for giving this film the digital transfer and DVD edition it deserves.
And he was amazing. In fact, Wally and I were coming from a rehearsal, I think of The Master Builder, a couple of years ago, and this guy ran up to Wally and said "My Dinner with André! I've seen it eight times! What an amazing movie! You were great! God, I love" — you know. And Wally after a while said, "I suppose you know my friend." And he looked at me and said, "I don't think so." And I said, "I was the other guy." And he said, "Oh." And he went back to talking with Wally and then shook his hands and went off down the street, and then he came running back, and he grabbed me by the arm. He said, "I'm so sorry — you were the waiter. I didn't recognize you." [Laughs.]
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"Nil admirari in stone, the waiter"