The crime thriller Heat from director Michael Mann is often held up not only as the pinnacle of Mann’s career, but as a pinnacle of both the genre and a distinct highlight in the careers of acting legends Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Though the movie is near-perfect as a one-off, with many movie fans considering a return to the story as tantamount to cinematic sacrilege, Mann has been talking about a Heat prequel novel for a few years now. While the novel has not been published yet, Mann has provided an update on the project, as well as confirming that he’d very much like to make the prequel novel into a movie.
Mann has been teasing the prequel novel since way back in 2016, with the director closing a deal to launch Michael Mann Books that same year. Back then he previously revealed a few details regarding the novel, stating that the prequel would follow the “formative years of homicide detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino), Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro), Chris Shihirles (Val Kilmer), McCauley’s accomplice Nate (Jon Voight), and other characters” from Mann’s 1995 crime-movie masterpiece. The story is said to also feature McCauley’s mentor, who taught him not to get attached to anything he couldn’t leave in 15 seconds if he spotted the “heat” coming around the corner.
The director has also declared his interest in making a Heat sequel, though, much like the prequel, how the logistics of this would work is unknown at this stage. Could Mann take a page out of Martin Scorsese’s’ book and apply state-of-the-art de-aging effects in order to bring his characters to life?
Heat follows a successful career criminal who considers getting out of the business after one last score, while an obsessive cop desperately tries to put him behind bars. Robert De Niro plays Neil McCauley, a seasoned professional at robberies, who specializes in big, risky jobs, such as banks and armored cars. He’s bright, methodical, and has honed his skills as a thief at the expense of his personal life, vowing never to get involved in a relationship from which he couldn’t walk away in 30 seconds.
Al Pacino plays Lt. Vincent Hanna, an LAPD robbery-homicide detective tracking down Neil’s crew after a botched heist leaves three security guards dead. Hanna’s dedication has made a wreck of the home he’s tried to have; he’s been divorced twice, he’s all but a stranger to his third wife, and he has no idea how to reach out to his troubled step-daughter. The legendary cop and robber are destined to cross paths in this crime-thriller masterpiece, which brings together acting behemoths De Niro and Pacino together for the first time. The supporting cast includes Val Kilmer as Chris, one of McCauley’s partners; Ashley Judd as his wife Charlene; Jon Voight as Nate; Hank Azaria as Alan Marciano; and Henry Rollins as Hugh.
Heat was a critical and commercial success, grossing a total $187 million worldwide against a $60 million budget. Michael Mann is currently working on the HBO Max series Tokyo Vice, which stars Ansel Elgort as a Western journalist working for a publication in Tokyo who takes on one of the city’s most powerful crime bosses.
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