Writer and director Michael Mann is one of the most respected filmmakers in the industry, responsible for classics like The Last of the Mohicans and Heat. The latter was a commercial success and was praised by critics for its gritty depiction of cops and criminals and the personal lives that are often a mess thanks to their respective chosen professions. The film continues to be talked about and analyzed in film circles due to Mann's technical prowess and predilection towards uncompromising crime stories.
Heat stars two of the most revered actors of their generation: Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Though they only share a few minutes of screen time, the story captured the attention of audiences everywhere and remained captivating from start to finish despite its nearly 3-hour runtime. Now, the characters from Mann's 1995 classic are poised to make a comeback of sorts in the form of a prequel novel and a potential movie adaptation.
Deadline reports Mann has made a deal to launch Michael Mann Books, which will produce a series of novels with a line-up of writers. The properties of these books will be simultaneously developed for film and television. Mann will go through his credits as writer for ideas, and at the top of the list is a prequel novel with the principle characters of Heat.
For those who don't already know, Heat follows master criminal Neil McCauley (De Niro), who is planning one last big heist before he retires. Lieutenant Vincent Hanna (Pacino) is tracking down McCauley and his gang, while also dealing with the aforementioned chaos of his crumbling personal life. The paths of the two men eventually cross and they find mutual respect for one another, even while attempting to disrupt their ostensible adversary's plans. Rounding out the original film's cast was Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Danny Trejo, and Kevin Gage as McCauley's crew, with Jon Voight as McCauley's fence. The film also boasted Mykelti Williamson (Justified), Wes Studi (Penny Dreadful), and Ted Levine (The Silence of the Lambs) as Hannah's fellow police detectives.
Details on the prequel novel are slim, but it is believed it will detail the formative years of Hanna and McCauley, while also focusing on Chris Shiherles (Kilmer), Nate (Voight), and other characters from the movie, providing a deeper look and a wider perspective at the story fans already know.
While the news is good for fans of Mann's crime stories, it may be awhile before either the book or the film come to fruition. At present, the director continues to work on his new drama Enzo Ferrari – based on the book Enzo Ferrari: The Man, The Cars, The Races, by Brock Yates – which will be focused on a pivotal time in the life of the Italian auto magnate. Mann wrote the script over the course of 15 years, and although star Christian Bale recently dropped out, it still sounds like the project is on the verge of happening.
As for Michael Mann Books, fans can likely expect rich stories with more than one protagonist (as do most of his films) and tragic endings rather than happy ones. A prequel novel to Heat sounds like an interesting idea as it will take us back to this classic film and will expand the backstory of the movie's rich, compelling characters.
Screen Rant will keep you posted on further details regarding the Heat prequel novel and possible film.