Roman Polanski adapts David Ives Tony Award-winning Broadway play about a frustrated theater director whose growing obsession with a volatile actress signals the start of an unexpected power shift. Exhausted after a day of unsuccessful auditions for the female lead in his play exploring the volatile relationship between a domineering mistress and her willing male subject, writer/director Thomas (Mathieu Amalric) broods over his lack of success when tempestuous actress Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner) blows into the theater like a sweltering summer storm. Though at first reluctant to give the overly-assertive and questionably-talented actress an audition, Thomas eventually relents. Subsequently captivated by her intense erotic energy, he gradually begins to realize she was more prepared than initial appearances suggested, and that she's perfect for the role. Yet in his spellbound state, Michael fails to notice that Vanda - who even shares the same name as her fictional counterpart - has slyly managed to turn the tables on him and before long their relationship begins to strike an eerie parallel with those of his impassioned characters.