Heat, a 25-year-old thriller masterpiece … And future trilogy?

A masterpiece from the thriller and a major work of the 90s, “Heat” by Michael Mann blows out the 25th anniversary of its French release. The opportunity to recall that the filmmaker is working to make it … A trilogy!

Heat, a 25-year-old thriller masterpiece... And future trilogy?
Warner Bros.

Heat, which today celebrates 25 years of its release, is more than just a thriller. It’s a true story with a long and funny gestation. Michael Mann began writing the screenplay in 1979 after hearing his friend and ex-cop, Chuck Adamson, tell him about his quest in the 1960s to track down robber Neil McCauley. The story ends in the hands of NBC which intends to make a series of it. Unfortunately, this project did not come to fruition, and viewers only discovered the pilot, the TV movie LA Takedown in 1989.

But Mann is frustrated. He didn’t give her idea the magnitude it deserved. Six years later, he therefore takes up the plot and realizes Heat. Worn by fabulous actors, including of course the duo Al Pacino / Robert de Niro, this uppercase thriller is considered by many to be Mann’s greatest film; in any case one of the major films of the 1990s, whose shooting scene entered through the front door into the pantheon of the 7th Art.

Below, for fun, the great trailer of the film …

A coin tossed duration

“What moves my characters, what constitutes their deep motivations, is not their environment. What fascinates me is the conflict, this is where the drama, the narration is born. The conflicts of the characters only make sense if I manage to create a story that is sufficiently embodied and intimate for viewers to identify with “ explained the filmmaker, during a masterclass given at the Lumière festival in Lyon in 2017, where his masterpiece was shown in a Director’s Cut version.

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And add: “Heat would be very difficult to do today”. In particular: budgetary constraints, even stronger than before, but also the very lighting of the City of Angels. An absolute disaster for a filmmaker like Mann, who films the city at night like no other, with his special subdued lighting. For several years, in fact, thethe municipality is installing LED-based lighting, which consumes less energy and is more ecological, but irremediably make this orange light so characteristic that has made the happiness of entire generations of filmmakers disappear …

“The only problem I had was the length. I learned later that the bosses at Warner had tossed a coin to see who should tell me I should cut half an hour. Except they had made that decision before they even saw the movie. There was a big screening, they saw the movie and they said, ‘Okay, this will be a 2:35 movie.’ Generally speaking, it was kind of a heist, because everything was already ready. I had the script, De Niro, Pacino and we went to the studio and said, ‘This is what the film is going to cost. , here’s the cast … ‘They gave the green light and when we left we heard screams coming from the office we were leaving. When I called them to find out what had happened, they Said to me: ‘Never do that again, never present us with a project where everything is already done and where we no longer control anything.’

A prequel to Heat … and a sequel

In 2016, we learned that the filmmaker wanted to co-write with Reed Farrel Coleman a prequel novel to his cult feature film, which was to return to the past of the characters in the 1995 film, including those of Al Pacino and Robert de Niro. And adapt this novel into a film. A project carried out rather discreetly, since Mann will not talk about it again until May 2020, at the Deadline site: “We’re working on it and I’m putting in the time, it’s a script I can’t tell you anything about. But I absolutely want to do a prequel ‘Heat’ movie. Without forgetting … A sequel! The “Heat” saga would therefore become a trilogy. But to see all this come out of the ground, we will have to arm ourselves with patience, in addition to being very hypothetical for the time being. Mann is currently focused on pre-production of his Enzo Ferrari biopic, which has fallen significantly behind due to the pandemic.

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