Ask the Dust is a noiresque romance starring Colin Farrell and Salma Hayek. Camilla (Hayek), a beautiful woman from a poor family, is working as a waitress and dreams of finding a way out of poverty by marrying a rich American. Arturo Bandini (Farrell) is a writer with only one story published and one nickel in his pocket. He chooses to spend it on a cup of coffee served by Camilla. Both are wary of falling in love, each wanting to escape their racial pigeonholing by "marrying out," each struggling to deny their growing closeness. They are advised, but not necessarily comforted, by an older man, Hellfrick (Donald Sutherland), and a scarred Jewish woman, Vera (Idina Menzel). Directed and written by Robert Towne (Acadamy-Award-winning writer of China Town), and set in Depression-era Los Angeles, the movie explores the nature of love and passion when it comes into conflict with life's harsh realities.