In August last year, Heat director Michael Mann published a follow-up to his 1995 classic in the form of a sprawling novel. It quickly became one of the biggest releases of the year and the desire for Mann’s long-discussed film sequel only increased. Now, we’re starting to feel the heat around the corner… and Heat 2 may already have found one of its leading men in Adam Driver.
As of now, Mann is reportedly the guiding force moving this project forward and things are shaping for the project to be his next feature film. There is currently no partner attached to Heat 2, but Warner Bros are in negotiations to fund the development of the film. New Regency, the production company which co-financed the first film along with Warner Bros, are expected to come on board as development progresses.
Adam Driver is steadily emerging as one of the best actors of his generation. He reportedly made such an impression on Mann during the filming of their Enzo Ferrari biopic – as per Deadline – that the actor is in talks to take over the role of Neil McCauley from Robert De Niro in Heat 2.
The proposed sequel, presumably following the same story as its novel, calls for actors six years younger than their original counterparts. Co-written between Mann himself and celebrated thriller author Meg Gardiner (China Lake, Jericho Point, Kill Chain), the print instalment of Heat 2 serves as both a sequel and prequel similar to The Godfather: Part II.
The first storyline is set to follow Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer) immediately after the events of Heat, as he tries to evade Detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) and the LAPD following the bank robbery gone wrong. The second storyline takes place in 1988’s Chicago, as McCauley, Shiherlis, and their high-line crew take scores, and Hanna is only a rising star in the Chicago police department.
Many casting rumours for Heat 2 have been circulating in recent weeks, including the potential return of Al Pacino as present-day Hanna, Austin Butler possibly taking on the role of young Chris Shiherlis (originally portrayed by Val Kilmer), and Ana de Armas being cast as McCauley’s love interest in the 1988 timeline. At this stage, Adam Driver is the only one firmly attached to Heat 2.
Both of the parallel narratives present some obvious hurdles in terms of casting. The first challenge is that Al Pacino and Val Kilmer are nearly three decades older than they were in the original and would likely struggle to portray the 1995 versions of themselves. The issue with the prequel storyline, on the other hand, is that it only takes place six years earlier. This is a rather small amount of time for McCauley to completely transform from looking like Adam Driver to Robert De Niro.
During a 25th anniversary Q&A panel hosted at Manhattan’s United Palace Theatre, Al Pacino was asked who should portray the younger version of his character, LAPD Lieutenant Dectevice Vincent Hanna. Pacino responded by nominating Timothée Chalamet, citing that he’s “a wonderful actor. Great looks.”
The news of Adam Driver’s involvement in Heat 2 probably eliminates Chalamet from the running, given the disparity in their ages. Oscar Isaac is a popular fan choice whose age aligns with Driver – and definitely shares a passing resemblance to the Hollywood great – but we’d honestly be excited about anything that doesn’t involve more Irishman-style VFX.