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Heat 2: Michael Mann Novel is Prequel and Sequel, Out August 9th

Heat 2 is coming – as the novel that serves as both a prequel and sequel to the classic 1995 Los Angeles crime saga Heat with writer-director Michael Mann co-writing with bestselling author Meg Gardiner. William Morrow will be publishing the sprawling crime novel on August 9th via HarperCollins.

Heat 2: Michael Mann Novel is Prequel and Sequel, Out August 9th
"Heat 2" cover art, William Morrow.

The original Heat is considered by many to be a classic and one of the seminal American crime sagas in modern Cinema. It is also considered one of the quintessential Los Angeles crime sagas, and many movies and TV series have used its setpieces and tropes ever since, from Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight to The Shield to the current version of SWAT on CBS. It also marked the first time Robert de Niro and Al Pacino, then at their peak as acting powerhouses, were paired on-screen as the unstoppable cop chasing an equally relentless and ruthless master thief.

Heat 2 starts one day after the events of the film, with a wounded Chris Shiherlis, originally played by Val Kilmer in Heat, desperate to escape LA. The story then flashes back six years before the heist to cover Vincent Hanna's (Pacino) past as a cop in Chicago and Neil McCauley's (de Niro) history pulling heists after his release from prison. The book also takes place years after the 1995 Heat, introducing new characters and new worlds of high-end professional crime, with Mann's trademark highly cinematic action sequences. The settings range from the streets of L.A. to the inner sanctums of rival Taiwanese crime syndicates in a South American free trade zone (featured in Mann's movie remake of his pioneering TV series Miami Vice), to a massive drug cartel money-laundering operation just over the border in Mexico, and eventually to Southeast Asia. Heat 2 looks set to be a sprawling saga of international criminal organizations and the men and women who move in it. Michael Cheritto, the deadliest member of McCauley's gang played by Tom Sizemore in the original Heat, seems to be absent from the synopsis of Heat 2.

"It's been my intention for a long time to do the further stories of Heat," Mann told Deadline, which broke the story. "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."

Mann, the writer, and filmmaker, has a reputation for obsessive detail and authenticity in his movies. What ends up on-screen is often just a fraction of the detail, research and background of the characters and the world their inhabit. Heat 2 takes place both before and after the original Heat. He took the same approach in working on the novel. "My way of working with a project involves immersing into the culture of the subject and accumulating a lot of detailed first-hand impressions and information. I want to know and feel that culture and the lives of the people: methods: methods, attitudes, and family values. I like to navigate these environments and operate within them. There's an authenticity discoverable there that I believe resonates with audiences as real and true."

"When I was writing the film, it was imperative for me to create complete life stories about all the characters and to know everything about them," Mann said, "including Neil McCauley's early institutionalized years when he lost track of his brother, before he parachuted into the streets, young, angry and dangerous. And the novel shows a McCauley very much attached and the dramatic events that resulted in his dictum that "if you're making moves on the street, have no attachments, allow nothing to be in your life that you cannot walk out on in thirty seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."

The book has gone through more than one co-author, with Gardiner ending up as the one  credited in the final version. In 2017, Reed Farrel Coleman was announced as the co-author. In 2020, Mann was reportedly working on editing a draft of the book and expressing interest in adapting the prequel novel into a movie. Mann had declared the book would be both a prequel and a sequel to Heat by then. Wednesday's announcement of the book's imminent release with Gardiner as the co-writer was a surprise. He seems to have developed the book as he would his screenplays, changing the story and replacing his co-writers when he felt it necessary.

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Adi TantimedhAbout Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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