Michael Mann confirmed his storyline for a “Heat” sequel will not be a “very expensive series” like HBO’s “Tokyo Vice.”
The director penned the upcoming novel “Heat 2” as a prequel origin story for Al Pacino and Robert De Niro’s respective characters, police officer Vincent Hanna and criminal Neil McCauley, showcasing the relationship between Hanna (Pacino) and Chris Shiherlis, played by Val Kilmer in the 1995 thriller.
While Pacino could conceivably be back as Hanna (and already has fan-casted Timothée Chalamet to play the younger version of himself) due to a time jump in the sequel installment, Mann confirmed that De Niro and Kilmer will not be reprising their roles.
“I love those guys, but they’d have to be six years younger than they were in ‘Heat,’” Mann told Empire Magazine. “It’s totally planned to be a movie. Is it a modest movie? No. Is it a very expensive series? No. It’s going to be one large movie.”
Mann added that “Heat” has a unique lasting power and has “sustained in culture” since its debut 27 years ago.
“It’s known. I could delude myself into thinking that the whole world is familiar with it, but when you check out its prominence in home vid for over 20 years, this thing really has legs,” Mann added. “People are still watching it, people are still talking about it. It’s a brand. It’s kind of a ‘Heat’ universe, in a way. And that certainly justifies a very large ambitious movie.”
So why a novel first?
Mann said that the “ability to which you can deep-dive into the internal world is fascinating, and you can do that best in a novel.” The book no doubt will be a run-through for the script for an impending upcoming sequel.
“I try to evoke that experience in the films I make, to locate the audience within the internal world of a character,” Mann shared. “The novel form allows me an even greater arena.”
Mann co-wrote “Heat 2” with Edgar-winning crime writer Meg Gardiner. The novel includes events both before and after the first film, including an origin story for Neil as a rising criminal battling PTSD after returning from serving in the Vietnam War.
“It’s been my intention for a long time to do the further stories of ‘Heat,’” Mann told Deadline. “There was always a rich history or backstory about the events in these people’s lives before 1995 in ‘Heat’ and projection of where their lives would take them after.”
The book will be released August 9 from the HarperCollins imprint Michael Mann Books, and it marks the director’s debut as a novelist after screenwriting nearly all of his own films, including “Ali” and “Miami Vice.”
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