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/Park Avenue Award Winner at New York Screenplay contest 2014/
THE PIZZA MAFIOSO
Feature film – treatment
From the story, "The Mafia Heir", by Stevan Šerban
In a top restaurant in New York, whilst having an evening meal, Mafia boss Don Chicho and his three sons are gunned down by a pair of hired killers. At the post-funeral repast, the heads of the Mafia families talk to Don Chicho’s Consigliere and arrange a meeting of all the families to chose a new Don.
Borek MacGregor runs the family pizza restaurant in a small Texas town. He occasionally tosses the pizza dough in front of the guests for entertainment value. Angela is Borek’s girlfriend – good-looking, voluptuous, but not especially intelligent, she works as a waitress in the pizzeria. Borek’s parents plan to marry Borek off to Angela but he is not entirely thrilled with the idea. Angela is not so much in love with Borek as pathologically jealous and possessive – and her only dream is to one day become the wife of a pizza restaurant owner. As a lad Borek was a member of a local gang and had a turbulent childhood. However, with the help of his father’s friend, a police officer, and because of his close relationship with his parents, he got back on the straight and narrow.
One day, while he is amusing the guests with his display of dough-tossing acrobatics, he is told that his father has suffered a serious heart attack and is in hospital in a bad way. Borek learns at his father’s hospital deathbed that he was adopted as a child. He was given up for adoption to the family he grew up in by a very rich and powerful family from New York. Borek is so excited by what he has learned that he trips on the cable of the life-support equipment that is keeping alive the man whom he had always believed to be his father – and pulls the plug out the socket. By the time he has figured it out and plugged it back in again the man is dead, and Borek doesn't get to hear who his biological parents are.
In New York four Mafia families are meeting to decide who is to be the new Don. The family of the late Don Chicho is represented by the Consigliere and the Don’s widow. The bosses object to the presence of Don Chicho’s widow at the meeting, saying that women have no place in the family business. The widow slams her fist on the table and proclaims that once upon a time the women were involved in the business, and things were better for it. Most vocal at the meeting is Pepe, son of one of the Mafia bosses, who insists that since Don Chicho has no more male successors, the place of Don should be taken over by someone from another family. The widow reveals to them that she and Don Chicho have another son who did not grow up with them, and says that he should succeed the dead Don. Panic ensues among the families, but Don Chicho’s Consigliere insists that the rules are the rules. He also says, at the insistence of Don Chicho’s widow, that her son should be told that he will be taking over a legitimate business. The other families reluctantly agree and give the Consigliere 24 hours to bring Don Chicho’s mysterious son to them and prove that he really is his son.
The Consigliere comes to Borek’s house and tells Borek’s adopted mother what happened in New York and that Borek must continue Don Chicho’s work if he is to save the rest of the family, both his biological family and his adopted family. She reluctantly agrees. Borek comes home and finds the Consigliere there, who tries to persuade him to come with him to New York. Borek refuses, but the Consigliere tells him that the lives of all those he loves, as well as those of his biological family, depend on his decision. Borek agrees to go to New York, but not because of the wealth that awaits him there but in order to learn who he really is and where he truly belongs.
Borek comes to New York and the Consigliere presents him to the Family. Borek has understood that he is being presented before the board of directors of a company and not to the Mafia families. He takes the place of Don Chicho not realising what he has got himself into.
Borek holds auditions for an assistant, worried he will not be able to run the business by himself. Only two candidates turn up for the audition, both of them trembling outside the door, waiting to be called in, knowing what kind of company they have come to. Pepe learns of the audition and comes to the firm to put the frighteners on the two candidates. They flee in terror and he imposes himself as Borek’s new assistant. Borek is in a bind and so takes on Pepe as his assistant.
Borek begins to get to know how the firm operates, and whenever he encounters anything fishy, Pepe skilfully covers up and hides it from him.
The best-selling tabloid newspaper runs a headline proclaiming that a new Don of the underground has been chosen, with Borek’s picture splashed across the front page. A copy of the newspaper ends up in Borek’s hands and he cannot figure out what is going on. Lucia, the journalist who wrote the article, bursts unannounced into Borek’s office, throws a copy of the newspaper on Borek’s desk and proclaims that she will not rest until she has shut down all their dirty businesses. After this verbal assault on Borek, Lucia leaves the office but cannot understand the bemused look on Borek’s face.
Angela hassles Borek with constant phone calls, demanding that he explain to her what this job of his in New York is all about. Either he come home immediately or, she threatens, she will come to New York.
Pepe gives Borek a tour of the businesses the company runs, presenting prostitution as show business, dealing in construction permits as civil engineering and racketeering as security work.
When Lucia finds out who Borek really is, she not only tells him what the “company” really does but also reveals the family's closely guarded secret. 31 years ago, the bosses of the four families were together on holiday in Italy. Because the authorities were cracking down on the Mafia at the time in America, the bosses of the four families decided to leave their wives in Italy for a year. The bosses went back to America, but all four Mafia boss wives realised they were pregnant. They agreed not to tell anyone about this, and after they had given birth to give their children up for adoption so that they could grow up in a normal environment and become good people. Lucia tells Borek that she, like him, is one of those children. Nobody in the family knows her secret and she has decided to destroy their business and get them all locked up because they ruined her life by robbing her of her identity. Borek does not believe her and throws her out of his office.
To verify the truth of what Lucia has told him, Borek begins to check up on Pepe. He asks Pepe to arrange a meeting for him with the head inspector for construction permits, and Pepe does so, but being the not-too-bright Mafioso that he is he brings the inspector in the trunk of the car to a plot of land out of town, while Borek comes expecting an ordinary meeting, albeit at an unusual location. He asks Pepe where the inspector is and Pepe opens the trunk. On seeing the terrified, bound and gagged inspector, he quickly closes the trunk.
The next time Borek goes into Pepe’s office he encounters some suspicious-looking girls. Everything about their appearance says "high-class call girl", but Pepe introduces them as colleagues who run the company’s show business operations. Once, he catches Pepe in his office with bags bulging with cash. Pepe assures him that the money is payment for security services rendered to some companies or other, and that he will pay it all into the company’s account tomorrow.
Borek is shocked to discover that Lucia has been telling him the truth about the company and about his father’s real profession. He hits rock bottom emotionally and decides to get out. But he realises that if he does that he will never be at peace with himself and this inner conflict will torment him for the rest of his life. He decides to use the knowledge Lucia has given him to turn the situation around to his own benefit.
After their initial conflict, Borek and Lucia become closer, while Angela continues to constantly bug Borek by phone, and he begins to avoid her calls. Angela is going crazy in the pizza restaurant, not knowing what is going on.
Lucia and Borek together find the other two Mafia heirs who have shared the same fate as them, and bring them to New York. One of them is Otto Schnell, a divorce lawyer working as a junior partner in a small law firm in a little town in Texas. He is a good lawyer but is somewhat bumbling and up-tight. Everybody likes him because he always tries to make sure both sides are happy in divorce cases, and very often the couples even make up. The other is Chuck Irving – he is not Chuck Norris but he is a fitness coach and a world kick boxing champion who owns a dance school in Atlanta. He is always in a tracksuit and is obsessed with the way he looks. He is constantly trying to appeal to women with his talk of sports and healthy eating.
Borek fires Pepe and with the help of the wives of the bosses of all the families, who finally reveal their secret to their husbands, forms a board of directors with Lucia, Otto and Chuck as the legitimate representatives of all the families. The first thing they do is to consolidate their legal business. The call girls bring their Hollywood producer clients so that the firm can invest its money in the movie industry through them. The producers, terrified of the firm, do not need much persuasion to agree. They go into construction through legal auctions, and their competition pull out of the auctions, frightened of the possible consequences if they tangle with the Mafia. They do not realise that even though they are now operating fully legally, they still carry the mark of their parents. As they develop their legal business, they donate the dirty money to charities. This angers Pepe and the other family bosses.
Pepe hires hackers who in the space of a day empty the family accounts. Borek loses his temper. His business partners grow restless, waiting for the promised investments. Angela, angry that Borek is avoiding her, comes to New York and, carrying all her things, barges into Borek’s office, determined not to go home until Borek gives her a satisfactory explanation. Borek feels more than a little sick when he sees Angela in his office. Angela meets Borek’s partners. Chuck especially catches her eye – and she catches his, too. Chemistry happens.
Borek reports the hacking attack to the police, who disbelievingly come to the company to investigate the theft.
Pepe is not done yet, and prepares to strike the final blow against Borek and the other successors – he kidnaps Angela and threatens to kill her unless Borek and the others pull out of the business. Pepe calls Borek, who tells him that this is the best news he has heard in a long time. Chuck learns of Angela’s kidnapping and due to his feelings for her takes things into his own hands and rescues her from Pepe. He brings her to Borek to surprise him. Borek tells Otto and Lucia regretfully that Chuck has rescued Angela. Lucia asks him, “What now?”. Borek replies, “Now we're screwed!”
Borek is sitting with his partners in the company villa. They are discussing what to do, having learned that Pepe intends to go to the bitter end and have them all liquidated. Borek feels the boy rebel from the streets awakening in him again. He tells his partners that the only way to oppose Pepe is by using the same means their families have used for generations – but just this one last time. Everybody agrees, but just at that moment Pepe, together with the operatives of all the families combined, attacks the villa using every firearm imaginable. The villa is turned into Swiss cheese, but Borek and partners chance upon a secret tunnel and escape through it.
Borek secretly calls the security chiefs of all the families to a meeting and throws files on the table in front of them detailing all the crimes that they have committed for the firm. The most intelligent of them asks Borek, “What do you want us to do?’
With the agreement of all the partners, Borek uses the remainder of the dirty money to buy an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
The security chiefs kidnap the bosses of all the families, with all their sons and daughters-in-law, but not the grandchildren, and take them to the island. On the island they have all the privileges of the life of luxury to which they have become accustomed: women, cigars, pool and gambling. The only proviso is that they can have no contact with the outside world and cannot leave the island for the rest of their lives.
Borek and the other heirs send all the grandchildren to top boarding schools. After everything he has experienced in New York, Borek decides nevertheless to go back to his home town and his old job. He leaves the job of company president to Lucia, who is sorry that he has decided to leave as she has begun to like him.
Angela has hooked up with Chuck.
Borek goes back to his little town and tells the staff of the pizza restaurant that he is expanding the business and opening a chain of pizza restaurants – everyone is delighted. Lucia turns up at the door of the pizza restaurant and asks whether he needs a marketing manager. Otto appears behind Lucia and offers him free legal services. Behind him are Angela and Chuck, who are just passing through as they are off on their honeymoon.