Heat wasn’t a monster hit when it arrived in the fall of 1995, but over the last 27 years it’s become one of the most beloved films for each of its legendary leads. Michael Mann’s epic crime film was the second to star both Al Pacino and Robert De Niro (after The Godfather Part II), but the first in which they actually got to share scenes. Now it’s got a new 4K restoration, as well as a forthcoming novel, Heat 2, which is both a sequel and a prequel, showing the younger years of its main characters. And if someone makes a movie out of that one, Pacino knows who should play him.
Pacino and De Niro — as well as producer Art Linson — were present at a premiere screening of the new restoration at this year’s Tribeca Festival. During the pre-film Q&A, moderator Bilge Ebiri (of Vulture) asked the burning question: Who could dare play the younger Vincent Hanna, Pacino’s sometimes unhinged LAPD lieutenant that loves big (or at least great) butts and he cannot lie?
“Timothée Chalamet,” Pacino exclaimed. “I mean, he’s a wonderful actor. Great looks.”
They also discussed the famous mid-film diner scene, in which Hanna and De Niro’s thieving Neil McCauley take a break from cat-and-mouse shenanigans and have a strangely therapeutic (though still tense) chat. They revealed it wasn’t as planned out as one might think.
“Al and I didn’t rehearse the scene,” De Niro told the crowd. “We just thought it was better just to do it.”
“I’ve often said to people who have asked me about working with him, ‘You can do anything with Bob.’ No matter what you do, he’s going to hear it, react to it and connect to it,” Pacino said. “That’s a real luxury to be with someone like that. Because no matter what you do, he picks up on it. He’s always there, at the ready.”
Pacino added, “I guess it’s somewhat like tennis. On your films, you gotta keep hitting the ball over the net, and it gets to the other person. It’s all a smooth rhythm that you get if you listen.”
Heat 2, which shows both the aftermath of the first film and the events leading up to it, will hit shelves on August 9, the same day as the original film’s 4K Blu-ray. Should a film version get greenlit, at least producers have one role cast.