Director Clare Peploe (wife of Bernardo Bertolucci) adapted this blend of noir mystery and magical realism from the story Miss Shumway Waves a Wand by James Hadley Chase. Bridget Fonda stars as Myra Shumway, an apprentice to a magician (Kenneth Mars) in 1952 Los Angeles. Myra is unhappily engaged to Cliff Wyatt (D.W. Moffett), a sleazy, Howard Hughes-like uranium heir who wants to run for president. After her fiancÃ©e accidentally kills her boss, Myra flees to Mexico in search of a renowned female shaman who may be able to teach her the secrets of magic. Wyatt sends an investigator, Alex Ross (Russell Crowe), to find Myra and bring her back. A former photojournalist traumatized by the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Ross finds Myra but falls for her and joins her on the quest to find the medicine woman, as does Doc Ansell (Jim Broadbent), an eccentric patent medicine salesman seeking an ancient Mayan cure for constipation. During the journey, a series of mystical events occur, including levitation during sex, a dog with the power of speech, a human being laying a blue egg, and the transformation of an assailant into a sausage.