Between Dune: Part Two and Gladiator II, 2024 is clearly the year of mega-hyped sequels. According to director Michael Mann, now that Ferrari is finally in the rear-view mirror, it’ll also be the year Heat 2 officially enters production.
During his latest interview with Variety, the filmmaker of Collateral and Thief fame provided a juicy update on the long-gestating continuation of his iconic modern crime thriller — a prequel/sequel hybrid a la The Godfather Part II based on the best-selling novel he published with Meg Gardiner back in 2022.
“So I’m busy writing the screenplay, so I get very respectful, very pleasant calls from Warner Bros saying, ‘Is there anything we can do to help?’ which translates into, ‘Where’s the screenplay?’” he joked.
Mann added: ”My plan is to absolutely make it next year.” (Note: the interview was initially recorded in December 2023.)
While there’s certainly a backlog of projects Michael Mann is keen to undertake before it’s too late, including a sci-fi flick and a World War II movie he’s recently mentioned, for the time being, Heat 2 is the top priority.
“The reason for Heat 2 was because there was so much depth in the characters and in the research that had been done for the movie,” he explained.
“I knew what De Niro’s character Neil McCauley was doing when he was 11 years old when he was in a foster home and wore hand-me-down clothes and started turning savage.”
“Or Al Pacino’s character Hanna, growing up in Granite City, Illinois, and not knowing what to do with his life, and winds up in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive.”
“The one character who does not know himself, who isn’t complete, not unified, is Chris Shiherlis. The Val Kilmer character.”
“How and when he finds himself and becomes as integrated a player as McCauley or Hanna and taking that into South East Asia and, as well as Ciudad del Este in the three frontiers… all of these are places I visited and spent a lot of time exploring and developed, so it’s truly an extension and so that’s what I’m most excited about right now.”
At this stage, casting has yet to be revealed. But in a conversation with Variety last year, Michael Mann confirmed we’d be seeing new actors. None of this de-aging shenanigans like what we endured with Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman.
“In the prequel, I don’t want them to be the same people that they are in the movie,” stated the 80-year-old cinema legend.
“I want them to be very different. It’s what befalls them — the conflicts, the tragedies that happen to them — that made them into the people they are.”
Last April, in the wake of the novel’s success, Deadline indicated Mann was in active negotiations with Warner Bros, with insiders adding that Ferrari star Adam Driver was being circled to portray a younger version of Robert De Niro’s Neil McCauley.
Elsewhere, Al Pacino informally nominated Timothee Chalamet to be cast as a young Vincent Hanna.
Only time will tell who gets tapped to bring this magnum opus to life. Check out the synopsis for Heat 2 (the book) below:
One day after the end of Heat, Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer) is holed up in Koreatown, wounded, half delirious, and desperately trying to escape LA. Hunting him is LAPD detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino).
Hours earlier, Hanna killed Shiherlis’ brother in arms, Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro), in a gunfight under the strobe lights at the foot of an LAX runway. Now, Hanna’s determined to capture or kill Shiherlis, the last survivor of McCauley’s crew, before he ghosts out of the city.
In 1988, seven years earlier, McCauley, Shiherlis, and their highline crew are taking scores on the West Coast, the US-Mexican border, and now in Chicago. Driven, daring, they’re pulling in money and living vivid lives.
And Chicago homicide detective Vincent Hanna — a man unreconciled with his history — is following his calling, the pursuit of armed and dangerous men into the dark and wild places, hunting an ultraviolent gang of home invaders.
Meanwhile, the fallout from McCauley’s scores and Hanna’s pursuit cause unexpected repercussions in a parallel narrative, driving through the years following Heat.