Heat Director Reveals Surprising New Details About The Crime Classic

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Michael Mann’s Heat is one of the best crime thrillers that there’s ever been, offering a pulse-pounding tales of cops and criminals that boasts a star-studded ensemble cast and the decades-in-the-making onscreen showdown between screen legends Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, one which more than lived up to expectations.

The Rewatchables podcast recently hosted the filmmaker to discuss the 1995 classic, where he both dispelled and acknowledged several longstanding rumors about the epic street-level saga. First off, he debunked the speculation that Keanu Reeves was in line to play Chris Shiherlis in Heat, a role Val Kilmer trained so hard for that his method of reloading rapidly while on the move was used as an example to show United States Marine Corps recruits how it should be done.

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Mann also revealed the surprising tidbit that he considered casting Kate Winslet as the daughter of Pacino’s Vincent Hanna, a part that ultimately went to Natalie Portman. That would have changed the dynamic and relationship between the characters significantly, given that the future Oscar winners were 20 and 14 respectively at the time of shooting.

Finally, Mann admits that Hanna battled a cocaine addiction in the earliest drafts of the Heat screenplay, which may go some way to explaining why various elements of Pacino’s performance could be generously described as a little too animated. Either way, it’s a brand new insight into an all-time great.