After a quiet period, Michael Mann is back with a bang. His sequel novel Heat 2, written with Edgar Award-winning author Meg Gardiner, has just topped the best-seller list shortly after release. He’s also out in Italy just starting production on his Ferrari biopic.
The structure of the Heat 2 novel, with switching time periods looking at both the years before the heist from the first movie, and the immediate aftermath, has led many commentators to suggest that if it is adapted it will be as a television serial.
Some of the book details professional thief Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) and LAPD detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) unknowingly crossing paths via a previous major heist. The latter time period in the book focuses on Val Kilmer’s Chris Shiherlis as Hanna is pursuing him relentlessly.
The assumption is that serial format and long-form storytelling is the only way to truly deal with complexity these days. Not so, says Mann. In an interview with Total Film Mann says he has no desire to do a series, but is interested in a theatrical adaption due to the influence of an old mentor:
“There’s fantastic work in television, and for whatever reason, it has a short half-life. [Producer] Dino De Laurentiis, one time, said to me about television, ‘Michael, there’s a small screen, and there’s the big screen.’ That said it all, you know?
I’m not putting down television. It really is [a golden age]. But the big, cinematic experience – there’s nothing like it. When we had a screening of ‘Heat’ at the Academy, probably 80% of the audience had never seen it on the big screen, and the reaction was astonishing.
I had the whole cast there, and [Christopher] Nolan moderated it. It’s on the Blu-ray – we had a panel discussion afterward. It was really fascinating to me to see the difference and the impact.”
Mann also had a bit to say about modern action cinema:
“I’m just bored by it. It’s not very interesting. I mean, sometimes the choreography is so outrageous that it’s fascinating, and it is quite good. But generally, no. It’s just stale.”
The Ferrari cast is pretty heavyweight, with Adam Driver, Penelope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Gabriel Leone, Sarah Gadon, Jack O’Connell, and Patrick Dempsey on the call sheets.
Mann would have to wait until after that wraps to begin proper development on any project related to Heat 2, which is where he could work out how to tackle the age of the stars of the original along with various medical issues.