Director Michael Mann, who has made some of the best films Hollywood’s ever produced in The Last of the Mohicans, Heat, and Collateral recently revealed he’s had in-depth conversations with Adam Driver to play the role of Neil McCauley in Heat 2.

Michael Mann via CBS Sunday Morning YouTube

While doing a bit with Variety where he’s quizzed on whether he remembers lines from the movies he’s made, the last quote he’s given is from his recently released Heat 2 novel, which Mann describes as both a prequel and a sequel to the 1995 film.

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The line he’s given is, “What are you not gonna tell me about Chris Shiherlis?” While discussing this line and the novel, Mann stated, “It’s one of the last lines in the novel and it’s Hanna played by Al Pacino in 1995 talking to Nate who was played by Jon Voight in 1995. And Shiherlis is in the wind. He’s fled. It sets up the fact that Hanna is going to continue to hunt him in perhaps the next book or the book after next.”

Mann then added, “The world was one world in 1995. It’s a completely different world in 2002, 2003 … but it’s taking, it’s almost taking it, what Heat was, it’s almost taking it into a way kind of near future or outer space if you like. That was the ambition behind the novel.”

The director then revealed, “Adam [Driver] and I have talked about it extensively and from before the strike began when we were still shooting Ferrari, I wanted him to play the Robert DeNiro character.”

Adam Driver speaking at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con International, for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Interestingly, outside of this video, Variety’s Stephen Rodrick details Mann shared his desire to make the film, but he also noted it wasn’t a necessity for him.

Mann first spoke about the novel, “In the prequel, I don’t want them to be the same people that they are in the movie. I want them to be very different. It’s what befalls them — the conflicts, the tragedies that happen to them — that made them into the people they are.”

Robert De Niro as Nate McCauley in Heat (1995), Warner Bros. Pictures

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To that end, Mann explained the novel reveals how McCauley adopts his worldview of walking out on anything in 30 seconds flat.

He said, “For Neil, it’s the events of the prequel that give him the gospel ‘Don’t have anything in life you can’t walk away from in 30 seconds.”

When pressed on whether he feels he’s running out of time to make a sequel, Rodrick revealed Mann launched “into a convoluted metaphor about a friend of his who is an architect in his late 80s who has multiple projects in the works and a desire to die on one of his construction sites.”

However, Mann would later inform him, “You asked me about mortality, but I didn’t really answer. The thing is, I don’t think about mortality. I’m busy. What good would it do me? If I absolutely had to make Heat 2, I wouldn’t have got lost in this beautiful story of Ferrari. And I took two years to write a novel. Fortunately, it became a New York Times No. 1 bestseller.”

“The things I’m into are things that fascinate me and keep me moving forward,” Mann continued. “Don’t misunderstand. I want to make it. But if I don’t, I won’t be incomplete.”

Al Pacino as Lt. Vincent Hanna in Heat (1995), Warner Bros. Pictures

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Mann’s original Heat film was recently described by Nethereal novelist Brian Niemeier as “the high point of High 90s cinema, and with good reason.” He added, “The term ‘a perfect movie’ gets thrown around a lot, but this is it. You can tell because without Heat in the 90s, we wouldn’t have gotten 2000s favorites like The Dark Knight and The Town.”

As for why he lavishes this high praise, Niemeier explains, “It poses thought-provoking questions about the bonds of loyalty and the consequences of holding to a code, blurring the line between hunter and hunted. It’s a tour de force of crime cinema that has left an indelible mark on the genre. Michael Mann’s directorial brilliance, coupled with the powerhouse performances of its cast, elevates the film to the lofty heights of cinematic greatness. Its raw authenticity, gripping action sequences, and profound exploration of human nature make it a timeless classic that continues to captivate audiences to this day.”

Val Kilmer as Chris Shiherlis in Heat (1995), Warner Bros. Pictures

The film raked in $67.4 million at the domestic box office and another $119.9 million internationally for a global gross of $187.4 million.

It starred Al Pacino as Lt. Vincent Hanna, Robert De Niro as Neil McCauley, Val Kilmer as Chris Shiherlis, Jon Voight as Nate, Tom Sizemore as Michael Cherritto, Diane Venora as Justine, Amy Brenneman as Eady, Ashley Judd as Charlene Shiherlis, Mykelti Williamson as Drucker, Kevin Gage as Waingro, Roger Van Zant as William Fichtner, and Natalie Portman as Lauren Gustafson.

Robert De Niro as Neil McCauley in Heat (1995), Warner Bros. Pictures

As for Mann’s Heat 2 novel that he co-wrote with Meg Gardiner the official description states, “Heat 2 covers the formative years of homicide detective Vincent Hanna (Oscar winner Al Pacino) and elite criminals Neil McCauley (Oscar winner Robert De Niro), Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer), and Nate (Oscar winner Jon Voight), and features the same extraordinary ambition, scope, rich characterizations, and attention to detail as the epic film.

The description continues, “This new story leads up to the events of the film and then moves beyond it, featuring new characters on both sides of the law, new high-line heists, and breathtakingly cinematic action sequences. Ranging from the streets of LA to the inner sancta of rival Taiwanese crime syndicates in Paraguay to a massive drug cartel money-laundering operation just over the border in Mexico.”

Heat 2 illuminates the dangerous workings of international crime organizations and the agents who pursue them as it provides a full-blooded portrait of the men and women who inhabit both worlds. Operatic in scope, Heat 2 is engrossing, moving, and tragic—a masterpiece of crime fiction from one of the most innovative and influential filmmakers in American cinema,” it concludes.

Heat 2 (2022), William Morrow

Would you be interested in Mann doing a Heat 2 film?

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    John F. Trent
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    John is the Editor-in-Chief here at Bounding Into Comics. He is a massive Washington Capitals fan, lover of history, and likes to dabble in economics and philosophy.