Screenplay by Alan Nafzger
TITLE: Boka Haram and the Italian Greyhound
SETTING: Abuja, Nigeria
LOGLINE: When Boka Haram kidnaps of bus of female anthropology students, a magical Italian Greyhounds helps Russian, American, Polish and Israeli agents to rescue them.
FILM REFERENCE: James Bond meets That Darn Cat! (1965)
FILM GENRE: Spy comedy / Romantic comedy.
SHORT PLOT SUMMARY
The bad guys are Boko Haram and they have kidnapped a bus load of Western women – anthropology students from various nations (Russia, America, Israel, Poland, others). An entire bus load of students. They release the male students. So their motivations are immediately clear. And of course, Boko Haram has some plutonium also. They are plotting terrorism on a world wide basis.
However, standing in the way are two Italian Greyhounds. Since 44 BC, it has been the policy of the Italian government to assign two Italian Greyhounds to every Italian Embassy in the world.
This is a spy movie with dogs no one would ever suspect of being a spies. The dogs only bark and bite and lead people around, but sometimes that is all a human spy needs is a little help.
- Vito – elegant and fancy male Italian Greyhound
- Bella – pregnant female Italian Greyhound
- Isabella Capitani – crafty wife of Italy’s Ambassador to Nigeria. Hero.
- Lorenzo Capitani – charming and likable Italian Ambassador to Nigeria.
- Bonfila Capitani – oldest daughter of Isabell and Lorenzo.
- Paola Capitani – younger daughter of Isabell and Lorenzo.
- Mohamed Adebayo – accident prone Boka Haram member and anti-hero.
- Tito Manfredonia – lazy and over weight Italian spy.
- Canoe Lowell – teenage son of the American Ambassador.
- Pavel Grachev – Russian spy.
- Cole Murphy – American spy.
- Tadeusz Kosciuszko – Polish spy.
- Meir Har-Zion – Israeli spy.
Fundamentalist Muslims kidnap an international group of female Anthropology students. While in captivity, they manage to send a message out with two wandering Italian Greyhounds. The owner of the two dogs are Lorenzo and Isabella Capitani. The Ambassador wanted to be a spy as a young man. His spying ambition however was sidetracked by his singing career. She gave up a promising career in business to raise their two daughters.
Various serious international security people have arrived in Abuja to find the girls. This is an international news story and the wife of the Ambassador has read the short biographies of the missing women in the newspaper. Isabella finds a pile of unread computer printouts with other biographical information that has been allowed to accumulate on the code room floor. None of the Italian spies in the Embassy are interested in the case.
Ambassador Capitani wants his embassy staff to do more spying but he can’t manage to get them to be more active. The spies assigned to Abuja have a nice quiet job and don’t want that disturbed. They are cooking in the Embassy kitchen in half of the time and are sleeping the rest of the time. If anything is going to happen to save the girls, Lorenzo and Isabella will have to do it.
“The Iggies” are a wily and adventurous pair, who lives with the Ambassador and his wife. Bella is pregnant and is relatively stationary, but Vito is alive and an active little dog. Each day, Vito sits on the steps of the Italian Embassy in Abuja and he observes each passerby. Bello observes things from her window on the third floor.
One night, before retiring inside, Vito, the male Iggy, decides to follow Mohamed Adebayo, a clumsy member of Boko Haram. Vito smells the slight traces of perfume left on Adebayo left when he manhandled the students. Adebayo is a rough dirty low-level terrorist who faintly smells of perfume. This is highly suspect, so the dog follows him to a warehouse where he and his group are holding the female hostages.
Without intention, the Boka Haram terrorists let Vito in. The female students manage to take off their bracelets and place them around the dog’s neck. There is a bangle bracelet, charm, tennis, a pearl, turquoise, a leather and a wristwatch bracelet. Each bracelet seems to hold a clue as to who owned it.
Managing to make it the embassy, Vito returns decked out in a nice collection of jewelry. Isabella discovers the jewelry, and gets a gut feeling that it belongs to the kidnapped women and she consults her husband, the Ambassador.
Isabella is able to match each bracelet with each of the missing girls. The diamonds are Russian so the missing Russian girl wore the tennis bracelet probably. The American girl, from Arizona, probably wore the turquoise. The Israeli girl wore the charm bracelet, etc. And so on. Her analysis is logical and she does show some impressive deductive skills. Her husband is convinced.
And of course, the Russians, the Americans, the Israelis and even the Poles have the Italian Embassy bugged. Everyone is spying, except the Italians. Everything the Ambassador and his wife say they hear. They don’t bother to bug the trained Italian spies, because it is considered a waste of time.
Later, the Ambassador tries to inform the intelligence officer that his dog has discovered the women. He points out that the dogs have return to the Embassy wearing the women’s jewelry. The Italian spies, who work for the Ambassador, do not take his allegations seriously and dismiss them. The Ambassador’s staff could be accused of being lazy or afraid to investigate. However, after hearing the Ambassador and his wife, the other spy agencies spring into action and begin to follow the dogs.
The Italian spy who is assigned to follow Vito to the kidnapped girls, is overweight. And while the dog tries to lead him to the girl, he can’t keep up the pace. He is too big and too slow to follow Vito. Finally the dog leaves him and proceeds to check on the girls.
The Russians, Americans, Poles and the Israelis rent rooms and set up headquarters across the street from the Italian Embassy. They each assign a team to keep Vito under surveillance. However through a couple of careless moves, Vito manages to elude them.
Being followed by four foreign spies clearly makes the Italian Greyhound nervous. The dog hides and then doubles back to in turn follow the foreign agents. Once the agents are ditched each night, Vito comes to visit the girls and check on their condition. The girls are under a great deal of psychological pressure and the sight of their new canine friends cheer things up each night. They hope he will bring help.
Finally after several fruitless nights, the Italian Embassy is infiltrated and four GPS devices are implanted in Vito’s collar and the dog leads the four highly trained agents through a comical chase through the streets of Abuja. A car hits the Russian. The American tumbles down a cliff. The Pole’s batteries fail. And the Mossad agent falls in Abuja’s only swimming pool. They lose their electronic gear.
The Russian, American, Polish and Mossad agents eventually give up and move on to other methods of finding the girls.
Only the aging Ambassador and his wife remain able to find the girls.
The Ambassador and his wife, of course aren’t trained spies, but have read several spy novels. They know just enough tradecraft to be dangerous to themselves. Fortunately their dogs rescue them at key moments. They attempt to follow the Vito, but they are aging and not very agile.
Without the foreign spies tailing them around town Vito is more direct about visiting the captured girls. They lead the Ambassador and his wife to the girls.
THE ITALIAN GREYHOUND BACK STORY
Cleopatra of Egypt gave Julius Caesar a pair of Italian Greyhounds.
The morning of March 15th, Cleopatra sends a witch to visit Julius Caesar. She tries to warn him of his emanate doom, but he refuses to listen. She offers a powder (mixed with wine) to give him and his progeny “certain powers” he takes the glass to be nice and to get rid of the hideous witch. However later, Caesar then pours the wine in his Italian Greyhounds food bowl. The happy little dogs drink it up.
Every Italian Greyhound in the bloodline of Julius Caesar’s Italian Greyhounds have this remarkable ability. And since his murder the Italian government has put them to use in their foreign service. A pair (male and female) of IGs have been assigned at every Italian Embassy in the world since March 15th, 44 B.C.
These Italian Greyhounds might or might not be magical. There are arguments for and against; however it is clear that every single Italian Ambassador has a pair. The breed is THAT popular in Italy. It could be that it is only a coincidence the Ambassadors each have two Italian Greyhounds.
If they do have magical powers they have been handed down through the generations until today. It can be argued that practically the entire Italian foreign intelligence gathering service is manned by 280 Italian Greyhounds, who are all descendants from Caesar’s dogs.
I plan a series of establishing shot at the beginning of the film – Italian Greyhounds patiently sitting on the steps of the Italian Embassies in Moscow, Washington D.C., Tel Aviv, Warsaw and finally Abuja. They are watching people who pass by on the sidewalk. They are fearless and entirely innocent looking. However we know; they are not what they appear!
One subplot involves a “serious romance” between Bonfila Capitani and Pavel Grachev. A second subplot is a “dysfunctional teenage romance” between Paola and a skateboad-obsessed slacker son of the American Ambassador, Canoe Lowell. Canoe misunderstands things and thinks that she is dumping their relationship for another guy because of all the macho males who frequent the Embassy neighborhood.
At the end, it is revealed that Bella and Vito have have started a family. At the end, both parents, with the puppies, are shown on the front steps of the Embassy.
Q: How did you come up with this idea of magic Italian Greyhounds?
A: Well, obviously I’ve had an interesting dream. I was in Kinshasa at night and I guess with a bunch of students. But I’m lost… NOT GOOD! Not good at all. And I’m trying to find the airport or bus station or wherever we are leaving from. No taxi and no phone. But I see an Italian Greyhound running around… that is an odd thing for certain… he seems to be chasing… following one of my former students. The kid and the dog run right past me… they don’t see me. They are a bit panicked. Probably lost too. But I follow them. Then the next morning I’m still following them… it is daylight now in my dream. I continue following them… and I don’t recall but I assume the building they went into was the station? It is busy like an airport or train station. And I woke up.