When we think of the big-name directors most likely to start penning novelizations (or even prose sequels) to their cinematic works, Michael Mann’s name doesn’t immediately jump to the top of the list. That’s not a knock on Mann’s talents as a writer—he penned the scripts to all but two of his movies, with an undeniable ear for tough-guy dialogue. It’s just that Mann is such a stylist, weaving in color, music, and performances to stagger the senses, that having him leave so many tools out of his toolbox, and focus just on the written word, feels a little odd.
Nevertheless: Mann has just announced his first novel: Heat 2, a sequel/prequel to his 1995 crime classic.
Leaving aside the fact that “Heat 2" is a weirdly funny name for a sequel to Heat, the project—which Mann has been talking about in various forms since 2016, and which he’s now co-written and finished with award-winning thriller novelist Meg Gardiner—actually sounds pretty intriguing. The little teaser trailer Mann released for it today (featuring a Moby track from the film’s soundtrack) makes it clear that the book will take place in two different time periods: 1989, where we’ll presumably see younger versions of Robert De Niro’s Neil McCauley and the hated Waingro planning scores, and 2002, where the book will likely follow…Well, hey, who’s left? Al Pacino’s Detective Vincent Hanna, and Val Kilmer’s Chris? (Not a lot of named characters survive Heat, is the point we’re driving toward there.)
(We kid, but Mann actually went into a lot of detail about the material the book will cover in a conversation with Deadline; the book starts “a day” after the end of the film, and then jumps around to show Hanna as a young Chicago detective, and future-Chris planning another score.)
And, sure: Heat wouldn’t be Heat without the raw ’90s Pacino energy of lines like “She’s got a GREAT ASS!” being bellowed at the top of the actor’s lungs; see the above point about the million things that make a Michael Mann movie, well, a Michael Mann movie. Even so, it’s an interesting project, one that Mann clearly has some passion for, and probably a lot less demanding (at 78) to do than, say, direct Mann’s last feature, 2015's Blackhat.
Heat 2 is scheduled to arrive in bookstores in August of 2022.