Last week the Academy hosted a reunion of the cast and filmmakers of HEAT. Christopher Nolan moderated a post screening Q & A with director Michael Mann, and stars Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.
Above are six clips from the session, including discussions of the writing of the film; the main characters Vincent and Neil; the coffee shop scene; the characters of Eady, Justine and Drucker; the look of the film; and the sound and music.
De Niro and Pacino were joined by actors Amy Brenneman, Val Kilmer, Diane Venora and Mykelti Williamson, producers Pieter Jan Brugge and Art Linson, cinematographer Dante Spinotti, film editor William Goldenberg and sound re-recording mixer Andy Nelson.
Kristopher Tapley reported on the event in Variety :
As has been recounted before, Mann took his own inspiration from the real-life saga of criminal Neil McCauley, who was finally killed by Mann’s friend, Chicago police detective Charlie Adamson, in 1963. They were two men … who had a fondness for one another, despite being on opposite sides of the law. “They had the kind of intimacy only strangers can have,” Mann said.
That, and the idea of two characters the audience could invest in and pull for despite their goals being at such stark opposition to one another, was the germ of “Heat.”
Talking character specifics, De Niro spoke about visual cues. “At the onset, I thought there should be that difference in the characters in terms of how they come off, what colors they’re in,” he said.
He also found it instructive that while Hanna’s life is falling apart — he and his wife (played by Venora) are “passing each other on the down-slope of a marriage, my third, because I spend all my time chasing guys like you around the block,” the detective confides in his foe mid-film — McCauley’s is just getting started. The career criminal has dreams of moving to Fiji, perhaps settling down with Eady, a young woman who enters his life and nearly disrupts the entire credo he lives by: “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.”