Robert De Niro/Al Pacino showdown Heat is getting a prequel in the form of a new novel. In his 1995 movie, Michael Mann spun a complex multi-character narrative simultaneously following a group of bank robbers planning and executing a heist and a group of cops trying to bring them down. The film today is best-remembered for its epic shoot-out scene on the streets of L.A., which changed forever the way action sequences would look and sound (it directly influenced Christopher Nolan when he made The Dark Knight). The film is also notable for the way Mann probed into the personal lives of its various male characters, revealing the toll their chosen professions took on their relationships.
It’s been over 20 years since Heat wowed audiences and critics with that unique and stylish blend of action and character drama, and after all that time Michael Mann is finally ready to revisit the film’s many compelling characters. But the movie’s cast won’t need to wait by their phones to hear from Mann when they should show up for work.
Rather than bring Heat back to the big-screen via a sequel, prequel, reboot or otherwise, Deadline reports that Mann plans to expand on its characters’ backstories by co-writing a prequel novel along with renowned mystery writer Reed Farrel Coleman.
The possibility of a book prequel was first mooted last year with the announcement that the director was launching Michael Mann Books, at which time it sounded like it would provide the basis for a new movie. This announcement – that the book is set to be published next year by William Morrow/HarperCollins – doesn’t provide word either way on whether it will become a film.
The characters were originally based upon real-life cops and criminals, and Mann did extensive research before writing them, even using detectives to track down criminal figures and interview them in order to fill the screenplay with as much authentic detail as possible. So he and Coleman will have tons of material to draw upon. Indeed, there’s a lot of different directions to take the story; along with the central players of Al Pacino’s dogged cop Vincent Hanna, Robert De Niro’s steely and unsentimental bank robber Neil McCauley and Val Kilmer’s hotheaded Chris Shiherlis. the original film is also filled with smaller characters who the director could explore.
Writing aside, Mann’s got a busy upcoming slate of movie and TV projects, including Hue 1968, a TV mini-series about the Tet Offensive, and an untitled film about crime figures Sam Giancana and Tony Accardo. He was also recently reported to be gearing up his long-gestating film about Enzo Ferrari, with Hugh Jackman in the role of the famed Italian car designer.