Michael Mann announces Heat 2 novel

Michael Mann has announced that he's co-writing Heat 2 as a novel, which will serve as both a prequel and sequel to the classic 1995 film

Director Michael Mann, best-known for thriller movies, is co-writing a novel which will serve as both a prequel AND a sequel to his 1995 seminal classic Heat, which famously paired Robert De Niro and Al Pacino on-screen for the first time.

In the film, Pacino plays Lieutenant Vincent Hanna and De Niro plays master thief Neil McCauley and the two circle one another like cat-and-mouse for much of the film, before sharing an iconic diner scene in which they face one another mano-a-mano.

Surprisingly, it is based on a true story, of a thief from Chicago who was an inmate of Alcatraz in the 1960s. His real-life nemesis was Detective Chuck Adamson, who eventually killed McCauley during a heist. Even more incredibly, Adamson’s real-life police partner was Dennis Farina, who would go onto become an actor in Mann’s films.

While Pacino and De Niro had of course appeared in Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather Trilogy, they had not shared any scenes before this and anticipation was through the roof.

“It’s been my intention for a long time to do the further stories of Heat,” Mann told Deadline. “There was always a rich history or back-story about the events in these people’s lives before 1995 in Heat and projection of where their lives would take them after.”

The film also starred Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Ashley Judd, Wes Studi, Dennis Haysbert, William Fichtner, Danny Trejo, Hank Azaria and was an early role for Natalie Portman. Heat is regularly included on “best movies of all time” lists, coming at the peak of the stars’ careers and during the golden age of the thriller.

The novel, called simply Heat 2, starts one day after the events of the film, with a wounded Chris Shiherlis (played by Val Kilmer in Heat) desperate to escape LA. The story moves to both the six years preceding the heist and the years immediately following it.

The locations range from Chicago and LA, to South America and Mexico, and eventually to Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Other characters included in the novel include Charlene (Ashley Judd), Nate (Jon Voight) and Trejo (Danny Trejo). The novel intertwines the parallel lives of Hanna and McCauley, including narrowly missing each other in Chicago years before.

Heat 2 is due to be published on August 9, 2022.

Find out whether Heat made it on to our list of the best thriller movies.