Spoiler: This post contains spoilers for the 1995 movie Heat, which you really should see, it’s very, very good.
Earlier this year, Michael Mann announced he was returning to one of his biggest triumphs. The beloved filmmaker said he was working on a prequel/sequel to Heat, his 1995 crime epic which paired Robert De Niro and Al Pacino for the first time since The Godfather: Part II (in which they shared no scenes and played father-son, albeit in different sections). The catch was that it wouldn’t be a film. It would be a novel, which would make it easier for him to delve into both his characters’ backstories and what happened to them after (if they survived to the end of the film, that is).
That novel won’t be released for another month, but already Mann is changing course. As per Empire, he’s decided he wants the book, called simply Heat 2: A Novel, to be a film after all. “It’s totally planned to be a movie,” Mann told the publication , while admitting it would exactly be a small undertaking. “Is it a modest movie? No. Is it a very expensive series? No.” He adds, “It’s going to be one large movie.”
Of course, there would have to be some re-casting. Heat was filmed almost 30 years ago, when some of its cast were already well into middle age. While he could see Pacino returning to the role of hepped-up LAPD lieutenant Vincent Hanna, both De Niro and Val Kilmer would be out. De Niro’s character, ice cold thief Neil McCauley, perished in the film’s final scene. And while Kilmer’s character, fellow robber Chris Shiherlis, is in the “sequel” section of the novel, the actor has health issues, which Top Gun: Maverick was able to work around.
“I love those guys, but they’d have to be six years younger than they were in Heat,” Mann says.
It sounds like Mann is not into going the Irishman route and de-aging Pacino and De Niro with expensive CGI. Still, at least he could take Pacino’s possibly jokey response to who should play the younger him: Timothée Chalamet.