Watch Michael Mann, Al Pacino, and Robert De Niro Discuss HEAT with Christopher Nolan
A couple of weeks ago, I attended a screening event for Michael Mann's Heat in which Christopher Nolan hosted a Q&A with the director, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and more. It was a pretty awesome experience, and that Q&A has been released online for the rest of you to watch thanks to the Academy of Arts and Sciences, who put on the event.
A couple of the more revealing things that were mentioned was the fact that Al Pacino's character was actually "chipping cocaine," even though it was never shown on screen.
“I don’t know if this has gotten out much. I might be breaking the law now, but I’ll say it. The character I played is a guy who’s been around, he’s done a lot of stuff, and he also chips cocaine. And I always thought that was a choice we made, but yet not showing it because it would be somewhat…”
Mann interjects at this point and says “it would attract too much attention,” then Pacino continues:
“But there is a scene in it…which never got into the film. And I always wanted to say that some time, just so you know where some of the behavior is coming from. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to say that. I’ve wanted to say it for 20 years, so thanks for this opportunity.”
It was also revealed by De Niro that the amazing scene between he and Pacino in the film in the diner was never rehearsed. They just went in and did it. The actor says:
“We decided that we just wanted to talk it through and just save it for the event of shooting it. That’s the only thing we probably did that with. But I tend to not want to rehearse things to the point where I wish I had shot it. That’s a disaster. I always want to stop well short, because I think things work perfect once, and they’ll never be 100% twice. And you want that happening in front of the camera.”
Mann offered some additional information, saying:
“We talked about the scene, we analyzed the scene and we kind of read it off the page a bit, but we didn’t want to do the scene until we were at Kate Mantilini’s. It was so ingrained that I knew if we lost all the tiny, little organic details, it would be different from take to take. So what I wanted to do was shoot with two cameras, two over the shoulders. And then I also had a third camera shooting profiles that we never cut into the film. So I knew there’d be an organic unity to one take, and then there’d be a slightly different organic unity to another. If you look at it very carefully, if Bob [De Niro] shifts his hand like this a little bit, right in the middle of the dialogue, Al is doing something to counter it, because maybe he’s shifting his position to get closer to a weapon. So most of the scene is all Take 11.”
If you're a fan of Heat, you'll definitely want to watch the videos below because it's really cool hearing them talk about their experiences with making the movie.