After 27 years, the sequel to “Heat” is nearly complete. The writer-director Michael Mann will publish “Heat 2,” a novel continuation of his acclaimed crime epic, on August 9. The book will chronicle the lives of master criminal Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) and obsessive detective Lt. Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) prior to and following the events of his 1995 film. Pacino’s response to the question of who could portray Lt. Hanna in a potential film adaptation of the sequel was met with thunderous applause. “Timothée Chalamet,” Pacino announced Friday evening at the United Palace theater in Washington Heights, Manhattan. “I mean, he’s an excellent actor. Great looks.”
In celebration of the film’s 25th anniversary, the Tribeca Film Festival hosted a Q&A panel with legendary actors Pacino and De Niro, as well as veteran producer Art Linson. The conversation, moderated by journalist Bilge Ebiri, was followed by a 4K screening of the 1995 film. Due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was delayed by two years. On West 176th Street, thousands of people, mostly unmasked, lined up around the block to attend the event. Before the actors took the stage, the audience was quickly reminded of the presence of the virus when Mann appeared via video message to explain that he was unable to attend the panel because he had tested positive for COVID. As expected, Pacino and De Niro were greeted with a standing ovation upon entering the stage. Linson recalled, “The idea of these two starring in this film is something to which almost anyone would say, ‘That’s a good idea.'”
Throughout the panel, fans in the audience shouted out some of the film’s most famous lines, occasionally derailing Pacino’s train of thought. Pacino’s yell, “Because she’s got a great ass!” is one of the film’s most memorable lines. During an interrogation scene with Hank Azaria’s character, he exclaimed, “And you’ve got your head all the way up it!” Azaria previously disclosed that the final cut of the film featured his genuine reaction to Pacino’s line delivery. “[Michael Mann] shoots like a million takes, I think Pacino got frustrated and yelled “Great ass!” out of boredom, which scared the hell out of me,” Azaria told Vanity Fair in 2018. Not at all acting, he genuinely terrified me. When Ebiri brought this amusing fact to Pacino’s attention, he responded in kind. “Seriously?” Pacino asked. “What do you think? I had no idea it was going to occur!”
De Niro looked at Pacino and shrugged when asked if they did any research to prepare for their roles. “I’ve robbed a few banks,” De Niro stated with a sly grin. De Niro and Pacino began to suggest that much of the gravitas of their performances stemmed from instinct. As it turns out, many of the scenes in “Heat” were improvised during filming, including the iconic diner scene. De Niro stated, “Al and I did not rehearse the scene.” We concluded that it was best to just do it. The scene in which Hanna and McCauley reveal their own strict ideologies over a cup of coffee is the first time in film history that the two iconic actors share the screen. Pacino attributed De Niro’s attentiveness to the scene’s subtle tension and natural pacing, which have been praised in recent decades. “I frequently tell people who inquire about working with Bob, ‘You can do anything with Bob.'” “He will hear it, react to it, and connect to it no matter what you do,” Pacino said. “It is a true privilege to be with someone like that. Because regardless of what you do, he detects it. He is always available and prepared.”
He continued, “I suppose it is comparable to tennis. On your films, you must continue to hit the ball over the net so that it reaches the other person. If you listen, you will detect a consistent rhythm. In contrast, De Niro praised Mann’s attention to detail. The actor stated, “He takes the time to make them special.” De Niro also recalled the film’s climax, which was shot in a real hotel and on the runway of Los Angeles International Airport. “We filmed on the weekends, I believe Saturday and Sunday in downtown Los Angeles because the streets were busy during the week,” De Niro explained. “This was part of the overall accuracy… It had never been seen in a movie before, it was unique and unforgettable, and you knew you were a part of it.” De Niro stated that the film was so accurate that actors were trained to fire live machine guns. De Niro stated, “We used actual live rounds while practicing all of that.” Pacino acknowledged that the excellent acting contributed to the authenticity of the film, but he praised the editors for making the actors look better.
Never overlook the editors! Pacino said. “I always feel that the editor made me look better than I actually am.” Pacino, who claimed to have done some editing himself, offered some advice to aspiring filmmakers. “I would recommend that every actor, producer, director, and editor watch the film before it’s locked, because it’s difficult to fix something you can’t change,” Pacino said. There is a chance that someone will listen to you if you smoke your pipe early on in the film. He went on to describe what transpired when he attempted this inconsistent strategy on the set of “The Godfather.” “I placed a pile of notes on Francis Ford Coppola’s desk, and he told me to ‘f*ck off.'” “Sometimes it works,” Pacino stated with a shrug and a smile.
The recently concluded limited series “The Offer” on Paramount Plus depicts the production of “The Godfather.” When asked if he has seen the show, Pacino responded enthusiastically, “Of course! This is my life story!” Ebiri concluded the discussion by asking if a film similar to “Heat” could be produced in the current Hollywood climate. Why couldn’t ‘Heat’ be made now? There are a number of inferior films currently in production. Linson said. Pacino stated that, despite the fact that the world has changed, streaming services are still interested in producing high-budget blockbusters. Pacino stated, “Netflix produced ‘The Irishman,’ so it is possible, but still difficult.” I believe Netflix, Amazon, or one of them could produce a major motion picture comparable to ‘Heat’ and would be willing to do so.